A Tien timeline:
Challenges & crises, honors & accomplishments

06 November 2002 |

July 24, 1935
Chang-Lin Tien is born in Wuhan, China.

Family emigrates to Taiwan, fleeing the communist takeover of mainland China.

Earns his B.S. at National Taiwan University, where he is also on the basketball team.

Earns his doctorate at Princeton; joins Berkeley’s mechanical engineering faculty as assistant
professor; marries Di-Hwa.

At age 26, becomes youngest-ever recipient of
campus Distinguished Teaching Award.

Promoted to full professor.

Begins seven-year term as department chair in mechanical engineering.

Elected to National Academy of Engineering at
the age of 41.

Appointed vice chancellor for research at UC Berkeley.

Appointed executive vice chancellor at UC Irvine.

February 15, 1990
Appointed chancellor of UC Berkeley.

July 1, 1990
Takes office in California Hall at the age of 54.

August 20, 1990
Launches “Smooth Transition” to reduce lines and stress during registration.

September 8, 1990
Fire sweeps through Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, killing three students and injuring two others.

September 10, 1990
Swears in UC Berkeley’s first woman chief of police, Victoria Harrison.

September 27, 1990
Durant Hotel hostage crisis: one student and the gunman are killed, nine students are injured.

November 19, 1900
Begins a 12-day tour of Asia, starting a trend of Berkeley outreach to the Pacific Rim.

February 7, 1991
Reacting to first hints of state budget cuts, vows to maintain Berkeley’s academic excellence.

March 22, 1991
On inauguration day, espouses “excellence through diversity,” a concept that would guide his time as chancellor.

June 30, 1991
In response to state budget cuts, UC offers early-retirement incentives to faculty. Ten percent of active faculty accept.

August 25, 1992
A woman wielding a machete breaks into University House, the on-campus residence of the chancellor and his wife, at 6 a.m. Rosebud Denovo is shot by police and later dies.

Fall 1992
Freshman Seminars inaugurated — a Tien
initiative that is a hit with students.

April 29, 1993
Reacting to announced $31-million cut in Berkeley’s state funding, Tien calls for public
lobbying of legislators, linking a strong UC to a thriving state economy.

June 29, 1994
Carol Christ named vice chancellor and provost, the first woman to be second-in-command at Cal.

June 30, 1994
More state-funding cuts and a third wave of
faculty and staff retirements. Since 1990, 27% of senior faculty have taken early retirement.

September 1, 1994
Announces fundraising total of $110 million for 1993-94, the sixth straight year that the campus topped the $100 million mark.

October 11, 1994
John C. Harsanyi wins Nobel Prize in economics — Berkeley’s 16th Nobel.

May 1995
Professor of English Robert Hass appointed
U.S. Poet Laureate.

May 6, 1995
The new Haas School of Business complex opens, financed completely by private donations. Other new facilities to open while Tien is chancellor include Tan Hall, Soda Hall, the Tang Center, and the new library stacks beneath Memorial Glade.

July 20, 1995
Regents vote to eliminate affirmative action in admissions over objections of Tien, the UC
president, and other chancellors.

July 26, 1995
Announces record year in fundraising: $156 million.

September 7, 1995
Launches the Berkeley Pledge, a $1-million Berkeley commitment to a new partnership with California’s K-12 students — an effort to maintain diversity in the absence of affirmative action.

September 12, 1995
National Research Council ranks 35 of 36 Berkeley doctoral programs in the top ten nationally, the best record of any university.

November 14, 1995
Colleagues honor Tien’s 60th birthday with an international symposium on thermal science.

April 23, 1996
Berkeley City Council approves resolution for a People’s Park management agreement with the campus, resolving a 27-year dispute over use of
the property.

July 9, 1996
Announces decision to step down as Berkeley chancellor by June 30, 1997.

February 20, 1997
Campus salutes Tien’s chancellorship at Zellerbach Hall tribute; he receives first-ever Presidential Medal from UC President Atkinson.

July 1999
Appointed to the National Science Board and a national commission to improve math and science education in K-12 classrooms.

September 17, 1999
Named University Professor by UC Regents.

October 1999
The International Astronomical Union formally names asteroid 3643, discovered by Chinese astronomers in 1978, the Tien Chang-Lin asteroid.

September 2000
Diagnosed with a brain tumor, he suffers a
debilitating stroke during a diagnostic test.

April 21, 2001
Chancellor Berdahl announces that a new East Asian Library and Studies Center will be named in Tien’s honor.

June 30, 2001
Retires from his duties at UC Berkeley.

June 2002
A daylong campus symposium honors Tien’s career.

October 29, 2002
Chang-Lin Tien dies at age 67.


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