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Berkeley celebrates 133rd birthday Friday, March 23

By José L. Rodríguez, Development Communications


charter days past

Each March the Berkeley campus holds a procession and ceremony to celebrate the birthday of the University of California.

14 March 2001 | In 1868, farms, indeed, were in Berkeley, and Telegraph Avenue was self-descriptive: wires ran down the street to Oakland, connecting hinterland to the outside world. On March 23, 1868, everything changed when then-Gov. Henry Haight signed into law the Organic Act that chartered the new University of California.

Next Friday, March 23, staff and faculty are invited to join in a campuswide celebration of the 133rd birthday of the university that came to define the promise of California.

“The story of Berkeley is the story of California, and this is the one time of year when we can gather as a community of faculty, staff, students and alumni to honor the spirit and substance of Berkeley,” said Chancellor Berdahl. “I urge all staff and faculty to take time on March 23 to join us at the Charter Day ceremony and procession.”

The invitation has backing: staff are authorized to take two hours of paid administrative leave to attend the Charter Day procession and ceremony, which runs from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Zellerbach Auditorium. Staff and faculty can either march in the procession or simply attend the ceremony.

Headlining the Charter Day ceremony this year is Berkeley’s latest Nobel laureate, Economics Professor Daniel McFadden, who received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2000. The program this year honors “Berkeley’s Nobel Tradition” and will include a special presentation highlighting all 17 members of the faculty to receive the Nobel Prize.

Charter Day also offers more than a ceremony and procession for the campus community. After the ceremony, staff and faculty can eat birthday cake and listen to the Cal Band at a birthday party on Dwinelle Plaza starting at 12:30 p.m. Partygoers can test their knowledge of Berkeley history and win prizes by playing the “Cal Trivia” contest.

The day will end with free, public lectures by the winners of the Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award and the Peter E. Haas Public Service Award. This year’s alumni winners, Zivorad Kovacevic and Amy Lemley, will give talks about their respective work, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Morrison Room in Doe Library.

“Berkeley is the premier public research university in the world, and we who are part of this community can take special pride in Charter Day,” Berdahl said.


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