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Untitled Document

The builders of Berkeley

15 October 2003


In 1906, Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt (left) contributed $100,000 for a law building in memory of her husband, an attorney and judge. When a new law school was built in 1951, the popular name Boalt Hall was transferred to the new structure. The bequests of Jane K. Sather (top) funded two of Berkeley’s best-loved structures: Sather Gate, completed in memory of her husband, Peder, in 1913, and her own memorial, Sather Tower (aka the Campanile), completed in 1914. Doreen B. Townsend (center) and her husband, Calvin, were active supporters of the Berkeley campus throughout their lives. Her bequest made possible the Townsend Center for the Humanities. Phoebe Apperson Hearst (right), among her many contributions to the campus, built the Hearst Memorial Mining Building in memory of her husband, George, and urged her son, William Randolph Hearst, to fund construction of the Greek Theatre.
Doreen Townsend - Peg Skorpinski photo. All others courtesy of the Bancroft Library

The generosity of private donors has been central to the success of the University of California since its founding in 1868. Many of the most famous campus landmarks bear the names of benefactors, such as Sather Gate and Hearst Gymnasium, Doe Memorial Library and the Tang Center, Boalt Hall and the Haas School of Business.

Hundreds of other staunch supporters have sustained the Berkeley campus over the decades in ways that no architect could be commissioned to memorialize. They have provided books and laboratories, scholarships and fellowships, endowed chairs and professorships, athletics programs and much more — all contributions to the excellence that is Berkeley’s hallmark.

The dedication on Sept. 25 of a campus monument honoring these “Builders of Berkeley,” past and present, ensures that their names will be remembered by future generations. One granite panel of the monument on the terrace of Doe Library is nearly filled by the names of the past 135 years’ most generous donors, but a facing panel is entirely blank, awaiting the inscription of the next century’s honor roll. We present here a few images of significant donors from Berkeley’s history, whose names (though not always their faces) will be familiar to many.