Weimer Says 'Goodbye' to Cal
by Sunny Merik, Public Affairs
In 1992, when Linda Weimer became Berkeleys assistant vice chancellor of public affairs, there was no weekly Berkeleyan, no annual Cal Day, no Berkeley Magazine, no Cal Parents organization, no online catalog, no campus advocacy network, no daily campus tours and no university web team.
Today, all of these are part of the fabric of life at Berkeley, thanks to Weimers leadership in public affairs.
Known for her expertise, enthusiasm and can do attitude, Weimer credits her staff for these achievements and many more.
The easy part is thinking up what we have to do, she says. The hard part has been getting it all done.
Public Affairs includes overall campus communications, press relations, public ceremonies, government affairs, visitor services and Cal Parents.
For six years, Weimer has led the public affairs team in telling the universitys story through some of the most trying times in the campuss history from deep state budget cuts and three rounds of early retirement programs in the early 1990s to the recent challenges posed by the passage of Prop 209 and its impact on admissions. At the same time, her team also has been instrumental in launching such high-profile initiatives as the Berkeley Pledge and the SAFER Program.
In announcing recently that she is leaving the university, Weimer said, My departure is purely personal.
Im not drawn professionally to any other place but Berkeley, but I need to spend my energy on my family at this time.
Commenting on her departure, Vice Chancellor Dan Mote said, In addition to her leadership of public affairs here, Lindas service on the national CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) board and her frequent invitations to participate in professional programs around the country, indeed in Europe and Asia, too, reflect her lofty stature within the greater public affairs community.
We thank Linda for leaving us in much better shape than she found
us, said Mote.
Said Marian Diamond, professor of integrative biology, who served on the search committee that recommended Weimer for the job, It will be a tremendous loss when she goes. Shes focused. She brings projects to fruition. She really believes in this university. She gives 100 percent to the job.
Weimer came to Cal from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she led the university news operation and later became director of university relations under then-Chancellor Donna Shalala.
After getting a masters degree at Wisconsin, Weimer spent more than 22 years working there, making the transitions from science reporter to assistant director of the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program to director of the campuss news service.
Weimer said she was drawn to Cal by the universitys reputation, the diversity of the university and the Bay Area, and the challenge of building a public affairs program at another complex public university.
What weve accomplished here is due to the excellent work of the staff, she said. None of these projects could be done by a single individual. It takes a village to accomplish what we have, and its very rewarding to see the staff reach the goals weve set and feel good about the role theyve played.
Asked what she will take away from Berkeley with her, she laughed and said, Tie-dyed shirts.
On a more serious note, she said she will most miss her colleagues and her contact with Cal students.
As Weimer leaves campus May 31, she will begin a new project researching and writing a book about elder care. Its kind of like going on a sabbatical, she said with a smile.
A farewell open house for Weimer will be held in Alumni House Thursday, May 28, at 3:30 p.m. for all campus colleagues and friends.
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