Spotlight on public service
Haas Awards honor civic-minded alums

By José Rodríguez, Development Communications


Haas winners

Left: Costa Rica’s President Miguel Angel Rodríguez Echeverria, winner of the 2002 Haas International Award, received his Ph.D. in economics here in 1966. Above: Joanna Lennon, winner of the Haas Public Service Award, earned a 1970 B.A. from Berkeley in social and political philosophy, a 1979 teaching credential from the School of Education and a 1981 master’s in forestry.
Peg Skorpinski photos

20 March 2002 | When Joanna Lennon started the East Bay Conservation Corps in 1983, there was no national public service program to serve as a model. The corps, headquartered in Oakland, became the model for a movement that crystallized in 1994 with the Americorps National Service Program.

After Miguel Angel Rodríguez received his Ph.D. from Berkeley in 1966, he returned to his native Costa Rica and began applying his expertise in economics as director of the national bank. By 1997, he had been elected Costa Rica’s president, symbolizing a breed of Latin American leaders seeking integration with the world economy and social progress at home.

The two leaders were on campus on Charter Day to receive the Peter E. Haas Public Service Award and the Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award, respectively.

Lennon and Rodríguez typify the kind of person honored by the campus at Charter Day for their commitment to public service, said Chancellor Berdahl in presenting the awards. The Haas Public Service Award is given to a Berkeley alumnus who has made a significant contribution at the grassroots level in the United States. The Haas International Award honors an alum who has provided distinguished public service abroad.

Rodríguez called the honor a “vote of confidence for the efforts we have done to place Costa Rica in a leading position of human development.”

He also delivered the keynote address at the Charter Day ceremonies in Zellerbach Auditorium, in which he recounted his student days at Berkeley, during the height of the Free Speech Movement.

“University life at Berkeley, thanks to extraordinary professors, prepared me to live and promote freedom,” Rodríguez said. “It instilled in me the tolerance to welcome the visit of doubt to my mind…. I learned that all of us have the need to enrich our truth with other people’s truths, and to cooperate in the search for mutual growth.”

Both winners traditionally give talks on Charter Day. Lennon, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Berkeley, discussed her work in a lecture titled “So, What Are You Going to Do with Your One Wild and Precious Life?”


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