Berkeley - University of California, Berkeley, officials have announced plans to name a new building to house resources in East Asian studies, languages and cultures in honor of Chang-Lin Tien, the former UC Berkeley chancellor and a leading voice in the Asian American community.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl announced the honor on April 21 during a private celebration of the university's successful completion of a $1.44 billion fund-raising campaign. Tien envisioned the campaign during his term as chancellor.
"One of Chang-Lin's favorite projects in the campaign, reflecting his own roots, is the East Asian Library and Studies Center, a project whose funding is not yet completed," said Berdahl. "It is with great pleasure that I announce that the East Asian Library and Studies Center will be named in honor of Tien, as a tribute to his enduring presence on this campus."
Tien, who underwent brain tumor surgery in September and is receiving home care, was not able to attend the event announcing the honor. His wife and family were present and thanked donors for their support.
The first Asian American to lead a major American research university, Tien was chancellor from 1990 to 1997 - during the toughest financial times in campus history. He envisioned a "Campaign for the New Century" that would bring in $1.1 billion of funding earmarked for specific projects including scholarships, fellowships, professorships, and renovation of teaching and research facilities. That campaign, which ran from July 1993 to December 31, 2000, raised $1.44 billion, the most ever by a public university.
The campaign drew $23 million for construction of an East Asian Library and Studies Center, which will be centrally located, across from the main campus library and in front of Memorial Glade. The center will house the campus's East Asian Library, the Institute of East Asian Studies, and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. Those units are now located in various UC Berkeley facilities.
The new center will bring together outstanding scholars of East Asian studies and languages and exceptional collections such as those now found in the campus's East Asian Library, which offers the largest and most comprehensive collection of East Asian books, serials, documents, manuscripts, and filmed materials in the western United States.
The university must raise at least another $27 million to successfully complete the project. And, the UC Regents must approve the naming of the center.
Born in Wuhan, China, and raised in Shanghai and Taiwan, Tien came to the United States as a graduate student in 1956. He became internationally known as a leader in higher education during his term as chancellor. He has also played a prominent role in building ties between the United States and Asia.
Tien, 65, is currently the NEC Distinguished Professor of Engineering at UC Berkeley and is one of 21 faculty members in the nine-campus University of California system to hold the title of University Professor.