University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California)[6][7] is a public research university in Berkeley, California.[7] Founded in 1868, it is the flagship campus and the oldest of the ten campuses of the University of California. Berkeley has grown to instruct over 40,000 students in approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs covering numerous disciplines.[8]

University of California, Berkeley
Former names
University of California (1868–1958)
MottoFiat lux (Latin)
Motto in English
Let there be light
TypePublic research university
EstablishedMarch 23, 1868 (1868-03-23)
Parent institution
University of California
Academic affiliations
Endowment$4.6 billion (2018)[1]
ChancellorCarol T. Christ
Students43,204 (fall 2019)[2]
Undergraduates31,348 (fall 2019)[2]
Postgraduates11,856 (fall 2019)[2]
Location, ,
United States
Total 1,232 acres (499 ha)
Core Campus 178 acres (72 ha)[3] Total land owned 6,679 acres (2,703 ha)[4]
AthleticsNCAA Division I FBS
NicknameGolden Bears
Sporting affiliations
MascotOski the Bear

Berkeley is one of the 14 founding members of the Association of American Universities and had $789 million in R&D expenditures in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.[9][10] Today, Berkeley maintains close relationships with three United States Department of Energy National Laboratories—Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory—and is home to many institutes, including the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Space Sciences Laboratory.[11] Through its partner institution University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Berkeley also offers a joint medical program at the UCSF Medical Center.[12]

As of October 2019, Berkeley alumni, faculty members and researchers include 107 Nobel laureates, 25 Turing Award winners, and 14 Fields Medalists. They have also won 19 Wolf Prizes, 45 MacArthur Fellowships,[13] 20 Academy Awards, 19 Pulitzer Prizes, and 207 Olympic medals.[14] In 1930, Ernest Lawrence invented the cyclotron at Berkeley, based on which UC Berkeley researchers along with Berkeley Lab have discovered or co-discovered 16 chemical elements of the periodic table – more than any other university in the world.[15][16][17] During the 1940s, Berkeley physicist J. R. Oppenheimer, the "Father of the Atomic Bomb", led the Manhattan project to create the first atomic bomb. In the 1960s, Berkeley was particularly noted for the Free Speech Movement as well as the anti–Vietnam War movement led by its students.[18][19][20] In the 21st century, Berkeley has become one of the leading universities in producing entrepreneurs and its alumni have founded many companies worldwide.[21][22][23][24][25]

For 2018–19, UC Berkeley ranks 5th internationally in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, 28th in the QS World University Rankings, 13th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and 4th in the U.S. News & World Report Global University Rankings.[26][27][28][29] Berkeley has been consistently cited as one of the six most prestigious universities in the world by Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings.[30][31][32][33][34]



After the passage by the US Congress of the Morrill Act in 1862, the California legislature procrastinated in establishing a land-grant university. Meanwhile, in 1866, the private College of California purchased the land comprising the current Berkeley campus to re-sell it in subdivided lots to raise funds. The effort failed to raise the necessary funds so the private college merged with the state-run Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College to form the University of California, the first full-curriculum public university in the state. This designation fulfilled the requirement for access to Morrill Act donated land.

Upon its founding, The Dwinelle Bill (California Assembly Bill No. 583) stated that the "University shall have for its design, to provide instruction and thorough and complete education in all departments of science, literature and art, industrial and professional pursuits, and general education, and also special courses of instruction in preparation for the professions".[35][36]

Ten faculty members and almost 40 students made up the new University of California when it opened in Oakland in 1869.[37] Frederick H. Billings was a trustee of the College of California and suggested that the new site for the college north of Oakland be named in honor of the Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley.[38] During the following year the college began admitting women.[39] In 1870, Henry Durant, the founder of the College of California, became the first president. With the completion of North and South Halls in 1873, the university relocated to its Berkeley location with 167 male and 22 female students[40] where it held its first classes.[41]

Beginning in 1891, Phoebe Apperson Hearst made several large gifts to Berkeley, funding a number of programs and new buildings and sponsoring, in 1898, an international competition in Antwerp, Belgium, where French architect Émile Bénard submitted the winning design for a campus master plan.

First half of 20th century

In 1905, the University Farm was established near Sacramento, ultimately becoming the University of California, Davis.[42] In 1919, Los Angeles State Normal School became the southern branch of the University, which ultimately became University of California, Los Angeles.[43] By 1920s, the number of campus buildings had grown substantially, and included twenty structures designed by architect John Galen Howard.[44]

Robert Gordon Sproul served as president from 1930 to 1958.[45] In the 1930s, Ernest Lawrence helped establish the Radiation Laboratory (now Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) and invented the cyclotron, which won him the Nobel physics prize in 1939.[46] Based on the cyclotron, UC Berkeley scientists and researchers, along with Berkeley Lab, went on to discover 16 chemical elements of the periodic table – more than any other university in the world.[16][17] In particular, during World War II and following Glenn Seaborg's then-secret discovery of plutonium, Ernest Orlando Lawrence's Radiation Laboratory began to contract with the U.S. Army to develop the atomic bomb. UC Berkeley physics professor J. Robert Oppenheimer was named scientific head of the Manhattan Project in 1942.[47][48] Along with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley was then a partner in managing two other labs, Los Alamos National Laboratory (1943) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1952).

By 1942, the American Council on Education ranked Berkeley second only to Harvard in the number of distinguished departments.[45] During the McCarthy era in 1949, the Board of Regents adopted an anti-communist loyalty oath. A number of faculty members led by Edward C. Tolman objected and were dismissed;[49] ten years passed before they were reinstated with back pay.[50]

Second half of 20th century

In 1952, the University of California became an entity separate from the Berkeley campus. Each campus was given relative autonomy and its own Chancellor. Then-president Sproul assumed presidency of the entire University of California system, and Clark Kerr became the first Chancellor of UC Berkeley.[45]

Berkeley gained worldwide reputation for student activism in the 1960s with the Free Speech Movement of 1964[51] and opposition to the Vietnam War.[52] In the highly publicized People's Park protest in 1969, students and the school conflicted over use of a plot of land; the National Guard was called in and violence erupted. Then governor of California Ronald Reagan called the Berkeley campus "...a haven for communist sympathizers, protesters, and sex deviants".[51][53][54]

In 1982, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) was founded on the Berkeley campus at the request of three Berkeley mathematicians Shiing-Shen Chern, Calvin Moore and Isadore M. Singer—and with the support of the National Science Foundation.[55] The institute was later moved to the Berkeley Hills. The institute is now widely regarded as a leading center for collaborative mathematical research, drawing thousands of visiting researchers from around the world each year.[55][56][57]

21st century

Modern students at Berkeley are less politically radical, with a greater percentage of moderates and conservatives than in the 20th century.[58][59] Democrats outnumber Republicans on the faculty by a ratio of 9:1.[60] On the whole, Democrats outnumber Republicans on American university campuses by a ratio of 10:1.[61]

In the 21st century, Berkeley relies increasingly on private support: BP pledged $400 million over 10 years to develop biofuels,[62] the Hewlett Foundation gave $113 million to endow 100 faculty chairs,[63] the Simons Foundation gave $60 million to establish the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing,[64], Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan pledged $600 million (shared with UCSF and Stanford University) to establish the Biohub, and, in 2019, Sanford and Joan Weill pledged $106 million for neuroscience research (shared with UCSF and University of Washington).[65] The 2008–13 Campaign for Berkeley raised $3.13 billion from 281,855 donors.[66]

Organization and administration


The original name, University of California, is frequently shortened to California or Cal. UC Berkeley's athletic teams date to this time are referred to as the California Golden Bears, Cal Bears, or just Cal. Today, the term "University of California" refers to the expanded statewide school system, of which Berkeley Campus is the original institution. The university discourages referring to the University of California, Berkeley as UCB, University of California at Berkeley,[67] Cal Berkeley, U.C. Berkeley, or UC-Berkeley.[68] Berkeley is unaffiliated with the Berklee College of Music or Berkeley College.


The University of California is governed by a 26-member Board of Regents, 18 of which are appointed by the Governor of California to 12-year terms, 7 serving as ex officio members, a single student regent and a non-voting student regent-designate.[69] The position of Chancellor was created in 1952 to lead individual campuses. The Board appointed Nicholas Dirks the 10th Chancellor of the university in 2013 after Robert J. Birgeneau, originally appointed in 2004, announced his resignation.[70] 12 vice chancellors report directly to the Chancellor. The Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost serves as the chief academic officer and is the office to which the deans of the 14 colleges and schools report.[71]

On August 16, 2016, Dirks announced he would step down as chancellor after months of heavy criticism from faculty over his management of university finances and his handling of a string of sexual misconduct cases involving high-profile faculty.[72] Dirks said he would step down upon the selection of a successor, who will be picked by a search committee of a dozen university leaders.[73] In March 2017, his successor, Carol T. Christ, was confirmed by the UC Regents and assumed the position on July 1, 2017.[74]

The 2006–07 budget totaled $1.7 billion; 33 percent came from the State of California. In 2006–07, 7,850 donors contributed $267.9 million and the endowment was valued at $2.89 billion.[75]

UC Berkeley employs 24,700 people directly and employees are permitted to unionize and are represented by AFSCME, California Nurses Association (CNA), CUE-Teamsters Local 2010 (formerly the Coalition of University Employees (CUE)), UAW, UC-AFT, and UPTE.[75][76]


Berkeley receives funding from a variety of federal, state, and private sources. With the exception of government contracts, public money is proportioned to Berkeley and the other 9 campuses of the University of California system through the UC Office of the President.

State funding has, historically, been very high at the University of California. In 1987, the state provided 54 percent of Berkeley's budget. However, educational appropriations to the university have declined significantly over the last few decades,[77] with general state support dropping to 12 percent of the university's total revenues in 2013.[78] To be sure, Berkeley has long benefited from private philanthropy, with considerable gifts from members of the Flood, Hearst, Durant, Strauss, Lick, Harmon, and Bacon families in the 19th century and from the Hearst, Doe, Sather, Rockefeller, Cowell, Haviland, Bowles, Boalt, and Stern families, among others, in the first half of the 20th century. More recently, helping to offset the decline in state funding, alumni and their foundations have given generously to the school, with major contributions from, among many others, the Haas, Goldman, and Koshland families; Gordon Moore (BS, 1950, over $110 million over the past two decades, primarily through multiple grants by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation); the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (Flora Lamson Hewlett, BS, 1935, a total of $150 million since 2000, most notably a $113-million gift announced in 2007); William V. Power (Class of 1930, multiple gifts, including a $26-million gift in 1999 and his $46.5-million bequest in 2003); the Simons family—over $110 million from James Harris Simons (PhD, 1961—multiple gifts, including a $60-million grant through the Simons Foundation to establish the Simons Institute), Mark Heising and Elizabeth Simons (both alums, over $32 million through the Heising-Simons Foundation over the past decade), and Nathaniel Simons (BA, MA in mathematics) and Laura Baxter-Simons (BA, MA); F. Warren Hellman (BA); Donald Fisher (Class of '51) and Doris Fisher; Sanford Diller (Class of '48) and Helen Diller ('50); Laura and Stephen D. Bechtel, Sr. (both Class of 1923); Sehat Sutardja (MS, PhD) and Weili Dai (BS); Gerson Bakar (BS); Edward and Carol Spieker (both of the Class of '66); Pehong Chen (PhD); Cornelius Vander Starr (attendee); Paul E. Jacobs (BS, MS, PhD); Richard C. Blum (BS); and Kevin Chou (BS, 2002), the youngest major alumni benefactor in the school's history.

Outside of alumni, Berkeley has also benefited from the generosity of friends, corporations, and foundations, notable among which are Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan (pledged $600 million, shared with UCSF and Stanford University, to form the Biohub); BP (pledged $400 million to research biofuels); the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (over $60 million in a series of grants since the foundation's creation), billionaire Sir Li Ka-Shing (multiple gifts, most notably a $40-million gift in 2005), Israeli-Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, Thomas and Stacey Siebel, and Sanford and Joan Weill.

Over the years, anonymous donors have given hundreds of millions of dollars to the school, including a 1999 gift of $50 million to support molecular engineering, a 2018 gift of $50 million to support STEM faculty,[79] and a $70-million gift in 2019 to support the BioEnginuity Hub.[80]

In 2014, Cal presented a plan to the Board of Regents that would create a venture capital fund that would fund student and faculty startups.[81]


Berkeley is a large, primarily residential Tier One research university with a majority of its enrollment in undergraduate programs, but also offers a comprehensive doctoral graduate program.[82] The university has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission since 1949.[83] The university is one of only two UC campuses operating on a semester calendar (the other is UC Merced). Berkeley offers 106 Bachelor's degrees, 88 Master's degrees, 97 research-focused doctoral programs and 31 professionally focused graduate degrees.[84] The university awarded 7,565 Bachelor's, 2,610 Master's or Professional and 930 Doctoral degrees in 2013–2014.[85]

Berkeley's 130-plus academic departments and programs are organized into 14 colleges and schools in addition to UC Berkeley Extension.[3] Colleges are both undergraduate and graduate, while Schools are generally graduate only, though some offer undergraduate majors, minors, or courses.

Berkeley does not have a medical school, but the university offers the UC Berkeley – UCSF Joint Medical Program with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), a standalone medical school that is also part of the University of California. The institutions also share the UC Berkeley – UCSF Bioengineering Graduate Program. Berkeley and UCSF have a long history of cooperation in medical research and are the two oldest campuses in the UC system. UCSF manages the UCSF Medical Center, the top-ranked hospital in California.[86]

Undergraduate programs

The four-year, full-time undergraduate program has a focus on the arts and sciences with a high level of co-existence in undergraduate and graduate programs. Freshman admission is selective but there are high levels of transfer-in.[82] 107 Bachelor's degrees are offered across the Haas School of Business (1), College of Chemistry (5), College of Engineering (20), College of Environmental Design (4), College of Letters and Science (67), College of Natural Resources (10), and other individual majors (2).[84] The most popular majors are Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Political Science, Molecular and Cell Biology, Environmental Science, and Economics.[75]

Requirements for undergraduate degrees come from four sources: the University of California system, the Berkeley campus, the college or school, and the department. These requirements include an entry-level writing requirement before enrollment (typically fulfilled by minimum scores on standardized admissions exams such as the SAT or ACT), completing coursework on "American History and Institutions" before or after enrollment by taking an introductory class, passing an "American Cultures Breadth" class at Berkeley, as well as requirements for reading and composition and specific requirements declared by the department and school.[87] Three-hour final examinations are required in most undergraduate classes and take place over a week following the last day of instruction in mid-December for the Fall semester and in mid-May for the Spring semester.[88] Academic grades are reported on a five-letter scale (A,B,C,D,F) with grade points being modified by three-tenths of point for pluses and minuses.[89] Requirements for academic honors are specified by individual schools and colleges, scholarly prizes are typically awarded by departments, and students are elected to honor societies based on these organizations' criteria.[90]

Graduate and professional programs

Berkeley has a "comprehensive" graduate program with high coexistence with the programs offered to undergraduates, but no medical school.[82] The university offers Master of Art, Master of Science, Master of Fine Art, and PhD degrees in addition to professional degrees such as the Juris Doctor, Master of Business Administration and Master of Design.[91] The university awarded 963 doctoral degrees and 3,531 Master's degrees in 2017.[92] Admission to graduate programs is decentralized; applicants apply directly to the department or degree program. Most graduate students are supported by fellowships, teach assistantships, or research assistantships.[92] The 2010 United States National Research Council Rankings identified UC Berkeley as having the highest number of top-ranked doctoral programs in the nation.[93] UC Berkeley doctoral programs that received a #1 ranking include Agricultural and Resource Economics, Astrophysics, Chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, English, Epidemiology, Geography, German, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Genomics, and Development, Physics, Plant Biology, and Political Science. UC Berkeley was also the #1 recipient of National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships between 2001 and 2010, with 1,333 awards.[92]

Faculty and research

Berkeley is a research university with a "very high" level of research activity.[82] In fiscal year 2015, Berkeley spent $789 million on research and development (R&D).[9] There are 1,620 full-time and 500 part-time faculty members among more than 130 academic departments and more than 80 interdisciplinary research units.[94] The current faculty includes 235 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellows, 3 Fields Medal winners, 77 Fulbright Scholars, 139 Guggenheim Fellows, 73 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 149 members of the National Academy of Sciences,[95] 8 Nobel Prize winners, 4 Pulitzer Prize winners, 125 Sloan Fellows, 7 Wolf Prize winners and 1 Pritzker Prize winner.[94][96][97] As of October 2019, 107 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the university as faculty, alumni or researchers, the most of any public university in the United States and third most of any university in the world.

Library system

Berkeley's 32 libraries together make up the fourth largest academic library in the United States, surpassed by Harvard University Library, Yale University Library and University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign Library.[98] However, considering the relative sizes and ages of these University libraries, Berkeley's collections have been growing about as fast as those at Harvard and Yale combined: specifically, 1.8 times faster than Harvard, and 1.9 times faster than Yale. In 2003, the Association of Research Libraries ranked it as the top public and third overall university library in North America based on various statistical measures of quality.[99] As of 2006, Berkeley's library system contains over 11 million volumes and maintains over 70,000 serial titles.[100] The libraries together cover over 12 acres (4.9 ha) of land and form one of the largest library complexes in the world.[101] Doe Library serves as the library system's reference, periodical, and administrative center, while most of the main collections are housed in the subterranean Gardner Main Stacks and Moffitt Undergraduate Library. The Bancroft Library, has over 400,000 printed volumes and 70 million manuscripts, pictorial items, maps and more, maintains special collections that document the history of the western part of North America, with an emphasis on California, Mexico and Central America. The Bancroft Library also houses The Mark Twain Papers,[102] The Oral History Center,[103] the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri[104] and the University Archives.[105]


Rank2018 QS World Ranking by Subject
4Art and Humanities (OVERALL)
4English Language
8Engineering and Technology (OVERALL)
4Computer and Information System
3Chemical Engineering
2Civil and Structural Engineering
3Electronic and Electrical Engineering
=4Mechanical Aeronautical & Manufacturing
7Natural Sciences (OVERALL)
1Environmental Sciences
3Material Sciences
5Physics & Astronomy
7Social Sciences & Management (OVERALL)
8Accounting & Finance
10Business & Management Studies
=6Communication & Media Studies
4Economics & Econometrics
8Education & Training
9Political & International Studies
4Statistics & Operations Research

Berkeley is often ranked as a top-ten university in the world and the top public university in the United States,[117][118][119][120][121][122][123][124][125] as well as the top public university producing Nobel laureates and billionaires.

Globally, for 2018–19, Berkeley is ranked 5th in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), 28th internationally in the QS World University Rankings, 15th internationally in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and 4th internationally by U.S. News & World Report.[126] Additionally, for 2018–29, Berkeley is cited as the 6th most prestigious university in the world by the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings, and it has been consistently recognized as one of the world's "six super brands" along with Cambridge, Harvard, MIT, Oxford and Stanford.[30][31][32][33][34] The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) ranked the university 6th in the world based on quality of education, alumni employment, quality of faculty, publications, influence, citations, broad impact, and patents in 2018–19.[127] In 2016, the Nature Index ranked Berkeley as the 6th university in the world based on research publication output in top tier academic journals in the life sciences, chemistry, earth and environmental sciences and physical sciences based on publication data from 2015.[128] It was ranked as the 9th institution in 2017 by the Nature Index, which measures the largest contributors to papers published in 82 leading journals.[129][130]

Nationally, the 2019–20 U.S. News & World Report's "Best Colleges" ranks Berkeley second among public universities and 22nd among national universities.[126] The 2019 Forbes America's Top Colleges report ranks Berkeley the top public university and 13th among 650 universities and liberal arts colleges in the United States.[131] Washington Monthly ranked Berkeley 20th among national universities in 2019, with criteria based on research, community service, and social mobility. The Money Magazine Best Colleges ranking for 2015 ranked Berkeley 9th in the United States, based on educational quality, affordability and alumni earnings.[132] For 2015 Kiplinger ranked Berkeley the 4th best-value public university in the nation for in-state students, and 6th for out-of-state students.[133] In 2014, The Daily Beast's Best Colleges report ranked Berkeley 11th in the country.[134] The 2013 Top American Research Universities report by the Center for Measuring University Performance ranked Berkeley 8th over-all, 5th in resources, faculty, and education, 9th in resources and education, and 1st in education.[135] Berkeley was listed as a "Public Ivy" in Richard Moll's 1985 Public Ivies.[136]

Admissions and enrollment

Demographics of student body (Fall 2019)[2][137]
UndergraduateGraduateCaliforniaU.S. Census
Black 3.5%4.0%6.5%13.2%
Asian 39.7%18.1%14.4%5.5%
Non-Hispanic White 24.0%32.9%38.5%61.7%
Hispanic (of any race) 15.5%8.4%38.6%17.7%
Native American 0.4%0.6%1.7%1.2%
International 12.3%28.7%N/AN/A
Other/Unknown 4.6%7.3%3.7%2.8%

For Fall 2019, Berkeley's total enrollment was 43,204: 31,348 undergraduate and 11,856 graduate students, with women accounting for 53.2 percent of undergraduates and 41.9 percent of graduate and professional students.[2] The acceptance rate for freshmen was 15.0 percent. Of enrolled freshman, nearly 54 percent were women and approximately 60 percent self-identified as persons of color. Enrolled freshman had an average weighted secondary school GPA of 4.45[138] (unweighted GPA of 3.89) and had an average SAT score of 1415 (average ACT score of 31). The interquartile range for SAT scores was 1300–1530, with 640–740 for reading/writing and 660–790 for math.[139] Berkeley and other campuses of the University of California do not superscore.

In 2014, Cal instituted a strict academic standard for an athlete's admission to the university. By the 2017 academic year 80 percent of incoming student athletes must comply with the University of California general student requirement that they have a 3.0 or higher high school grade point average.[140]

Fall Freshman Profile
Applicants[139][141][142][143][144] 86,80585,05782,57178,92373,79467,71361,70252,953
Admits[139][141][142][143][144] 13,03314,55214,42913,33213,33814,18113,03813,523
Admit rate[139][141][142][143][144] 15.0%17.1%17.5%16.9%18.1%20.9%21.1%25.5%
Enrolled[139][141][145][146] 6,0186,3796,2535,8325,8135,8485,3655,640
SAT range


ACT average


GPA (unweighted)



Students and prospective students of UC Berkeley are eligible for a variety of public and private financial aid. Generally, financial aid inquiries are processed through the UC Berkeley Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. Some graduate schools, such as the Haas School of Business[153] and Berkeley Law,[154] have their own financial aid offices. Berkeley's enrollment of National Merit Scholars was third in the nation until 2002, when participation in the National Merit program was discontinued.[155] For 2017–18, Berkeley ranked third in enrollment of recipients of the National Merit $2,500 Scholarship (124 scholars).[156] Twenty-seven percent of admitted students receive federal Pell grants.[157]

Discoveries and innovation

A number of significant inventions and discoveries have been made by the Berkeley faculty and researchers:[158]

Natural sciences

Computer and applied sciences

Companies and entrepreneurship

UC Berkeley alumni and faculty have founded many companies, some of which are shown below.[173][22] UC Berkeley has often been cited as one of the universities that have produced most entrepreneurs.[22][174][175][176][177]


The Berkeley campus encompasses approximately 1,232 acres (499 ha), though the "central campus" occupies only the low-lying western 178 acres (72 ha) of this area. Of the remaining acres, approximately 200 acres (81 ha) are occupied by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; other facilities above the main campus include the Lawrence Hall of Science and several research units, notably the Space Sciences Laboratory, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, an undeveloped 800-acre (320 ha) ecological preserve, the University of California Botanical Garden and a recreation center in Strawberry Canyon. Portions of the mostly undeveloped, eastern area of the campus are actually within the City of Oakland; these portions extend from the Claremont Resort north through the Panoramic Hill neighborhood to Tilden Park.[180]

To the west of the central campus is the downtown business district of Berkeley; to the northwest is the neighborhood of North Berkeley, including the so-called Gourmet Ghetto, a commercial district known for high quality dining due to the presence of such world-renowned restaurants as Chez Panisse. Immediately to the north is a quiet residential neighborhood known as Northside with a large graduate student population;[181] situated north of that are the upscale residential neighborhoods of the Berkeley Hills. Immediately southeast of campus lies fraternity row, and beyond that the Clark Kerr Campus and an upscale residential area named Claremont. The area south of the university includes student housing and Telegraph Avenue, one of Berkeley's main shopping districts with stores, street vendors and restaurants catering to college students and tourists. In addition, the University also owns land to the northwest of the main campus, a 90-acre (36 ha) married student housing complex in the nearby town of Albany ("Albany Village" and the "Gill Tract"), and a field research station several miles to the north in Richmond, California.

The campus is home to several museums including the University of California Museum of Paleontology, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and the Lawrence Hall of Science. The Museum of Paleontology, found in the lobby of the Valley Life Sciences Building, showcases a variety of dinosaur fossils including a complete cast of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Campus resource spaces for innovation and entrepreneurship such as the Big Ideas Competition (Blum Center for Developing Economies), SkyDeck, the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, and the Berkeley Haas Innovation Lab can also be found at UC Berkeley.[182]

Outside of the Bay Area, the University owns various research laboratories and research forests in both northern and southern Sierra Nevada.

360-degree-view of the UC Berkeley campus


What is considered the historic campus today was the result of the 1898 "International Competition for the Phoebe Hearst Architectural Plan for the University of California", funded by William Randolph Hearst's mother and initially held in the Belgian city of Antwerp; eleven finalists were judged again in San Francisco in 1899.[183] The winner was Frenchman Émile Bénard, however he refused to personally supervise the implementation of his plan and the task was subsequently given to architecture professor John Galen Howard. Howard designed over twenty buildings, which set the tone for the campus up until its expansion in the 1950s and 1960s. The structures forming the "classical core" of the campus were built in the Beaux-Arts Classical style, and include Hearst Greek Theatre, Hearst Memorial Mining Building, Doe Memorial Library, California Hall, Wheeler Hall, (Old) Le Conte Hall, Gilman Hall, Haviland Hall, Wellman Hall, Sather Gate, and the 307-foot (94 m) Sather Tower (nicknamed "the Campanile" after its architectural inspiration, St Mark's Campanile in Venice), the tallest university clock tower in the United States.[184] Buildings he regarded as temporary, nonacademic, or not particularly "serious" were designed in shingle or Collegiate Gothic styles; examples of these are North Gate Hall, Dwinelle Annex, and Stephens Hall. Many of Howard's designs are recognized California Historical Landmarks[185] and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Built in 1873 in a Victorian Second-Empire-style, South Hall, designed by David Farquharson, is the oldest university building in California. It, and the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Piedmont Avenue east of the main campus, are two of the only surviving examples of the nineteenth-century campus. Other notable architects and firms whose work can be found in the campus and surrounding area are Bernard Maybeck[186] (Faculty Club); Julia Morgan (Hearst Women's Gymnasium and Julia Morgan Hall); William Wurster (Stern Hall); Moore Ruble Yudell (Haas School of Business); Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (C.V. Starr East Asian Library), and Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive).

Natural features

Flowing into the main campus are two branches of Strawberry Creek. The south fork enters a culvert upstream of the recreational complex at the mouth of Strawberry Canyon and passes beneath California Memorial Stadium before appearing again in Faculty Glade. It then runs through the center of the campus before disappearing underground at the west end of campus. The north fork appears just east of University House and runs through the glade north of the Valley Life Sciences Building, the original site of the Campus Arboretum.

Trees in the area date from the founding of the University in the 1870s. The campus, itself, contains numerous wooded areas; including: Founders' Rock, Faculty Glade, Grinnell Natural Area, and the Eucalyptus Grove, which is both the tallest stand of such trees in the world and the tallest stand of hardwood trees in North America.[187]

The campus sits on the Hayward Fault, which runs directly through California Memorial Stadium.[188] There is ongoing construction to retrofit the stadium. The "treesit" protest revolved around the controversy of clearing away trees by the stadium to build the new Student Athlete High Performance Center. As the stadium sits directly on the fault, this raised campus concerns of the safety of student athletes in the event of an earthquake as they train in facilities under the stadium stands.[189]

Environmental record

Through its Office of Sustainability and Energy, UC Berkeley works to implement sustainability initiatives on campus. The university encourages green purchasing when possible and installing energy-efficient technologies.[190] UC Berkeley has a green building policy. Nine buildings on campus are LEED Gold, five are LEED Silver, and one is LEED Certified.[191] Multiple building spaces have been repurposed for alternative use, and waste from construction projects is reduced. Water conservation technologies have been installed across campus, and the university employs a variety of techniques to manage storm water.[190] UC Berkeley heats, cools, and powers its lab equipment with power from an on-campus natural gas plant.[192] UC Berkeley's efforts toward sustainability earned the school an overall grade of B+ on one sustainability report card.[190]

Student life and traditions

The official university mascot is Oski the Bear, who debuted in 1941. Previously, live bear cubs were used as mascots at Memorial Stadium until it was decided in 1940 that a costumed mascot would be a better alternative. Named after the Oski-wow-wow yell, he is cared for by the Oski Committee, whose members have exclusive knowledge of the identity of the costume-wearer.[193]

The University of California Marching Band, which has served the university since 1891, performs at every home football game and at select road games as well. A smaller subset of the Cal Band, the Straw Hat Band, performs at basketball games, volleyball games, and other campus and community events.[194]

The UC Rally Committee, formed in 1901, is the official guardian of California's Spirit and Traditions. Wearing their traditional blue and gold rugbies, Rally Committee members can be seen at all major sporting and spirit events. Committee members are charged with the maintenance of the five Cal flags, the large California banner overhanging the Memorial Stadium Student Section and Haas Pavilion, the California Victory Cannon, Card Stunts and The Big "C" among other duties. The Rally Committee is also responsible for safekeeping of the Stanford Axe when it is in Cal's possession.[195] The Chairman of the Rally Committee holds the title "Custodian of the Axe" while it is in the Committee's care.

The Cal Mic Men, a standard at home football games, has recently expanded to involve basketball and volleyball. The traditional role comes from students holding megaphones and yelling, but now includes microphones, a dedicated platform during games, and the direction of the entire student section.[196] Both men and women are allowed to fulfill the role, despite the name.

Overlooking the main Berkeley campus from the foothills in the east, The Big "C" is an important symbol of California school spirit. The Big "C" has its roots in an early 20th-century campus event called "Rush", which pitted the freshman and sophomore classes against each other in a race up Charter Hill that often developed into a wrestling match. It was eventually decided to discontinue Rush and, in 1905, the freshman and sophomore classes banded together in a show of unity to build "the Big C".[197] Owing to its prominent position, the Big "C" is often the target of pranks by rival Stanford University students who paint the Big "C" red and also fraternities and sororities who paint it their organization's colors. One of the Rally Committee's functions is to repaint the Big "C" to its traditional color of King Alfred Yellow.

Cal students invented the college football tradition of card stunts. Then known as Bleacher Stunts, they were first performed during the 1910 Big Game and consisted of two stunts: a picture of the Stanford Axe and a large blue "C" on a white background. The tradition continues today in the Cal student section and incorporates complicated motions, for example tracing the Cal script logo on a blue background with an imaginary yellow pen.[198]

The California Victory Cannon, placed on Tightwad Hill overlooking the stadium, is fired before every football home game, after every score, and after every Cal victory. First used in the 1963 Big Game, it was originally placed on the sidelines before moving to Tightwad Hill in 1971. The only time the cannon ran out of ammunition was during a game against Pacific in 1991, when Cal scored 12 touchdowns.[199]

Student housing

Students at UC Berkeley live in a variety of housing that cater to personal and academic preferences and styles. The immediately surrounding community offers apartments, Greek (fraternity and sorority) housing and cooperative housing, twenty of which are houses that are members of the Berkeley Student Cooperative.

University housing

The university runs twelve different residence halls: seven undergraduate residence halls or complexes, both with and without themes; family student housing; re-entry student housing; and optional international student housing at the International House, built with a gift from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and the erstwhile home of six Nobel laureates. Undergraduate residence halls are located off-campus in the city of Berkeley. Units 1, 2 and 3, located on the south side of campus, offer high-rise accommodations with common areas on every other floor. Units 1 and 2 share a common dining hall, Crossroads. The oldest unit, Unit 3, has its own dining hall, Café 3, on the first floor.[200] At the beginning of the 2018–2019 school year, a new building called Blackwell Hall, was opened across the street from Unit 3. These buildings share a dining hall. Further away and also on the south side of campus is Clark Kerr, an undergraduate residential complex that houses many student athletes and was once a school for the deaf and blind.

In the foothills east of the central campus, there are three additional undergraduate residence halls: Foothill, Stern, and Bowles. Foothill is a co-ed, suite-style hall reminiscent of a Swiss chalet. Just south of Foothill, overlooking the Hearst Greek Theatre, is the all-women's traditional-style Stern Hall, which boasts an original mural by Diego Rivera. Because of their proximity to the College of Engineering and College of Chemistry, these residence halls often house science and engineering majors. They tend to be quieter than the southside complexes but often get free glimpses of concerts owing to their proximity to the theater. Bowles Hall, the oldest state-owned residence hall in California, is located immediately north of California Memorial Stadium. Dedicated in 1929 and on the National Register of Historic Places, this residence hall is known for its Collegiate Gothic architecture and large rooms ("quads") that can accommodate four students.

The Channing-Bowditch and Ida Jackson apartments are intended for older students.[201][202] Family student housing consists of two main groups of housing: University Village and Smyth-Fernwald. University Village is located 3 miles (4.8 km) northwest of campus in Albany, California, and Smyth-Fernwald is near the Clark Kerr campus.

Cooperative housing

UC Berkeley students, as well as students of other universities and colleges in the area, have the option of living in one of the twenty cooperative houses of the Berkeley Student Cooperative (BSC), formerly the University Students' Cooperative Association (USCA) and formerly a member of the national cooperative federation, NASCO. The BSC is a nonprofit housing cooperative network consisting of 20 cooperative homes and 1250 member-owners.[203] The UCSCA (as the BSC was known by at that time) was founded in 1933 with the assistance of then-director of Stiles Hall, Harry Kingman. The birth of the UCSCA, as well as many other cooperative organizations around the country, coincided with the Great Depression precisely as a response to scant resources. By living together in large houses and pooling together resources, members found that their monetary resources could go further to pay for their cost of living than living separately. In the 1960s, the USCA pioneered the first co-ed university housing in Berkeley (excluding a short-lived "experiment" at Barrington Hall), called the Ridge Project (later renamed Casa Zimbabwe). In 1975, the USCA founded its first and only vegetarian-themed house, Lothlorien. In 1997, the USCA opened its African-American theme house, Afro House, and in 1999 its LGBT-themed house, named after Irish author and poet Oscar Wilde.[204]

Notable alumni of the BSC include Marion Nestle, professor at New York University and author of Food Politics, and Beverly Cleary, a writer of children's books.

Fraternities and sororities

University-sanctioned fraternities and sororities comprise over 60 houses that are accredited to one of four Governing Councils, all under the umbrella organization of CalGreeks.[205][206] One fraternal organization does not participate in any of the governing bodies or in any of the campus-wide fraternal activities, the Sigma Phi Society of the Thorsen House, which acts instead as an independent secret society.

Fraternities (IFC)[207] Sororities (PHC)[207]

Student-run organizations

Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC)

The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) is the official student association that controls funding for student groups and organizes on-campus student events. It is considered one of the most autonomous student governments at any public university in the U.S. The two main political parties are "Student Action"[208] and "CalSERVE."[209] The organization was founded in 1887 and has an annual operating budget of $1.7 million (excluding the budget of the Graduate Assembly of the ASUC), in addition to various investment assets.

The ASUC's Student Union Program, Entertainment, and Recreation Board (SUPERB) is a student-run, non-profit branch dedicated to providing entertainment for the campus and community. Founded in 1964, SUPERB's programming includes the Friday Film Series, free Noon Concerts on Lower Sproul Plaza, Comedy Competitions, Poker Tournaments, free Sneak Previews of upcoming movies, and more.

In April 2013, in an 11–9 vote, the ASUC Senate passed a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions resolution for the UC system to divest from companies that are assisting in Israel's "...illegal occupation and ensuing human rights abuses".[210][211]

Communications media

UC Berkeley's student-run online television station, CalTV, was formed in 2005 and broadcasts online. It is run by students with a variety of backgrounds and majors. Since the mid-2010s, it has been a program of the ASUC.[212]

UC Berkeley's independent student-run newspaper is The Daily Californian. Founded in 1871, The Daily Cal became independent in 1971 after the campus administration fired three senior editors for encouraging readers to take back People's Park. The Daily Californian has both a print and online edition. Print circulation is about 10,000. The newspaper is an important source of information for students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding City of Berkeley.

Berkeley's FM Student radio station, KALX, broadcasts on 90.7 MHz. It is run largely by volunteers, including both students and community members.

Berkeley also features an assortment of student-run magazines, most notably Caliber Magazine. Founded in 2008, Caliber Magazine promotes itself as "the everything magazine" by featuring articles and blogs on a wide range of topics. It has been voted "Best Magazine on Campus" by the readers of the Daily Cal[213] as well as "Best Publication on Campus" by the ASUC.

Student groups

UC Berkeley has a reputation for student activism, stemming from the 1960s and the Free Speech Movement. Today, Berkeley is known as a lively campus with activism in many forms, from email petitions, presentations on Sproul Plaza and volunteering, to the occasional protest. During the 2006–07 school year, there were 94 political student groups on campus including MEChXA de UC Berkeley, Berkeley American Civil Liberties Union, Berkeley Students for Life, Campus Greens, The Sustainability Team (STEAM), the Berkeley Student Food Collective, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Cal Berkeley Democrats, and the Berkeley College Republicans. Berkeley sends the most students to the Peace Corps of any university in the nation.[214]

The Residence Hall Assembly (RHA) is the student-run residence hall organization that oversees all aspects of residence wide event planning, legislation, sponsorships and activities for over 7,200 on-campus undergraduate residents. Founded in 1988 by the President's Council, it is now funded and supported by the Residential and Student Service Programs department on campus.[215]

UC Berkeley also has a rich history of student-run consulting groups. The Berkeley Group[216] is a student consulting organization, founded in 2003, affiliated with UC Berkeley and the Haas School of Business. Students of all majors are recruited and trained to work on pro-bono consulting engagements with real-life nonprofit clients. The oldest consulting group on campus is Berkeley Consulting, founded in 1996, which has served over 140 companies across technology, retail, banking, and non-profit sectors.[217] Net Impact Berkeley, founded in 2005, has consulted for over 100 social enterprises, nonprofits, and impact driven businesses, and is sponsored by Haas School of Business, Center for Responsible Business, and the ASUC.[218]

ImagiCal[219] has been the college chapter of the American Advertising Federation at Berkeley since the late 1980s. Every year, the team competes in the National Student Advertising Competition. Students from various backgrounds come together to work on a marketing case provided by the AAF and a corporate sponsor to college chapters across the nation. Most recently, the UC Berkeley team won in their region in 2005, 2009 and 2012, going on to win 4th and 3rd in the nation in 2005 and 2009, respectively.

The Berkeley Forum is a student organization that hosts panels, debates, and talks by leading experts from many different fields.[220] The organization is nonpartisan and has brought a wide variety of speakers to campus, including Senator Rand Paul, entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, Khan Academy founder Salman Khan, and many others.

Democratic Education at Cal, or DeCal, is a program that promotes the creation of professor-sponsored, student-facilitated classes through the Special Studies 98/198 program.[221] DeCal arose out of the 1960s Free Speech movement and was officially established in 1981. The program offers around 150 courses on a vast range of subjects that appeal to the Berkeley student community, including classes on the Rubik's Cube, blockchain, web design, metamodernism, cooking, Jewish Art Through the Ages, 3D animation, and bioprinting.[222]

In addition, UC Berkeley is home to a quidditch team, Cal Quidditch.[223] Drawing inspiration from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter book series, Cal Quidditch was founded in 2009 and competes in national tournaments, recently earning a ranking of 2nd at US Quidditch Cup 12, held in Round Rock, Texas.

There are many a cappella groups on campus, including Drawn to Scale, Artists in Resonance, Berkeley Dil Se, the UC Men's Octet, the California Golden Overtones, and Noteworthy. The UC Men's Octet is an eight-member a cappella group founded in 1948 featuring a repertoire of barbershop, doo-wop, contemporary pop, modern alternative, and fight songs. They are one of only two multiple time champions of the ICCA, having won the championship in both 1998 and 2000. The California Golden Overtones, founded in 1984, have a very similar repertoire to the Octet. Noteworthy competed in Season 5 of America's Got Talent. It is a tradition for every Berkeley a cappella group to perform under the campus' Sather Gate each week at different times during the week. In addition to a Capella, Berkeley is host to a myriad of other performing arts groups in comedy, dance, acting and instrumental music. A few examples include jericho! Improv & Sketch Comedy, The Movement, Taiko drumming, BareStage student musical theater, the Remedy Music Project, Main Stacks, AFX Dance, and TruElement.

Since 1967, students and staff jazz musicians have had an opportunity to perform and study with the University of California Jazz Ensembles. Under the direction of Dr. David W. Tucker, who was hired by the Cal Band as a composer, arranger, and associate director, but was later asked to direct the jazz ensembles as it grew in popularity and membership, the group grew rapidly from one big band to multiple big bands, numerous combos, and numerous instrumental classes with multiple instructors. For several decades it hosted the Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival, part of the American Collegiate Jazz Festival, a competitive forum for student musicians. PCCJF brought jazz luminaries such as Hubert Laws, Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, and Ed Shaughnessy to the Berkeley campus as performers, clinicians, and adjudicators. The festival later included high school musicians. The jazz ensembles became an effective recruitment tool. Many high school musicians interested in strong academics as well as jazz found that the campus met both interests. Numerous alumni have had successful careers in jazz performance and education including Michael Wolff and Andy Narell.

UC Berkeley also hosts many conferences, talks, and musical and theatrical performances. Many of these events, including the Annual UC Berkeley Sociological Research Symposium, are completely planned and organized by undergraduate students.


The athletic teams at UC Berkeley are known as the California Golden Bears (often shortened to "Cal Bears" or just "Cal") and are primarily members of the NCAA Division I Pac-12 Conference (Pac-12). Cal is also a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several sports not sponsored by the Pac-12 and the America East Conference in women's field hockey. The first school colors, established in 1873 by a committee of students, were Blue (specifically Yale Blue) and Gold.[224][225] Yale Blue was originally chosen because many of the university's founders were Yale University graduates (for example Henry Durant, the first university president). Blue and Gold were specified and made the official colors of the university and the state colors of California in 1955.[224][226] However, the athletic department has recently specified a darker blue, close to but not the same as the Berkeley Blue now used by the school.[227][228]

The California Golden Bears have a long history of excellence in athletics, having won national titles in football, men's basketball, baseball, softball, men's and women's crew, men's gymnastics, men's tennis, men's and women's swimming, men's water polo, men's Judo, men's track, and men's rugby. In addition, Cal athletes have won numerous individual NCAA titles in track, gymnastics, swimming and tennis. On January 31, 2009, the school's Hurling club made athletic history by defeating Stanford in the first collegiate hurling match ever played on American soil. Berkeley teams have won national championships in baseball (2), men's basketball (2), men's crew (15), women's crew (3), football (5), men's golf (1), men's gymnastics (4), men's lacrosse (1), men's rugby (26), softball (1), men's swimming & diving (4), women's swimming & diving (3), men's tennis (1), men's track & field (1), and men's water polo (13).

California finished in first place[229] in the 2007–08 Fall U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup standings (Now the NACDA Directors' Cup), a competition measuring the best overall collegiate athletic programs in the country, with points awarded for national finishes in NCAA sports. Cal finished the 2007–08 competition in seventh place with 1119 points.[230] Most recently, California finished in third place in the 2010–11 NACDA Directors' Cup with 1219.50 points, finishing behind Stanford and Ohio State. This is California's highest ever finish in the Director's Cup.[231]

In particular, the Golden Bears' traditional arch-rivalry is with the Stanford Cardinal. The most anticipated sporting event between the two universities is the annual football game dubbed the Big Game, and it is celebrated with spirit events on both campuses. Since 1933, the winner of the Big Game has been awarded custody of the Stanford Axe. Other sporting games between these rivals have related names such as the Big Splash between the water polo teams.[232]

One of the most famous moments in college football history occurred during the 85th Big Game on November 20, 1982. In what has become known as "the band play" or simply The Play, Cal scored the winning touchdown in the final seconds with a kickoff return that involved a series of laterals and the Stanford marching band rushing onto the field.

Notable alumni, faculty, and staff

As of 2018, 34 alumni and 40 past and present full-time faculty are counted among the 107 Nobel laureates associated with the university.[233] The Turing Award, the "Nobel Prize of computer science", has been awarded to 11 alumni and 12 past and present full-time faculty, with Dana Scott being an alumnus and a faculty member.[234]

Faculty and staff


Berkeley alumni have served in a range of prominent government offices, both domestic and foreign, including Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court (Earl Warren, BA, JD); United States Attorney General (Edwin Meese III, JD); United States Secretary of State (Dean Rusk, LLB); United States Secretary of the Treasury (W. Michael Blumenthal, BA); United States Secretary of Defense (Robert McNamara, BS); United States Secretary of the Interior (Franklin Knight Lane, 1887); United States Secretary of Transportation and United States Secretary of Commerce (Norman Mineta, BS); United States Secretary of Agriculture (Ann Veneman, MPP); scores of federal judges and members of the United States Congress and United States Foreign Service; governors of California (George C. Pardee; Hiram W. Johnson; Earl Warren, BA and LLB; Jerry Brown, BA; and Pete Wilson, JD), Michigan (Jennifer Granholm, BA), and the United States Virgin Islands (Walter A. Gordon, BA); Chief of Staff of the United States Army (Frederick C. Weyand, Class of 1938); Lieutenant General of the United States Army (Jimmy Doolittle); Vice Admiral of the United States Navy (Murry L. Royar, Class of 1916); Major General of the United States Marine Corps (Oliver Prince Smith); Brigadier General of the United States Marine Corps (Bertram A. Bone); Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (John A. McCone, BS); chair and members of the Council of Economic Advisors (Michael Boskin, BA, PhD.; Sandra Black, BA; Jesse Rothstein, PhD; Robert Seamans, PhD; Jay Shambaugh, PhD; James Stock, MA, PhD); Governor of the Federal Reserve System (H. Robert Heller, PhD) and President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (William Dudley, PhD); Commissioners of the SEC (Troy A. Paredes, BA) and the FCC (Rachelle Chong, BA); and United States Surgeon General (Kenneth P. Moritsugu, MPH).

Foreign alumni include the President of Colombia 1922–1926, (Pedro Nel Ospina Vázquez, BA, Mining Engineering); the President of Mexico (Francisco I. Madero, attended 1892–93); the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan; the Premier of the Republic of China (Sun Fo, BA); the President of Costa Rica (Miguel Angel Rodriguez, MA, PhD); and members of parliament of the United Kingdom (House of Lords, Lydia Dunn, Baroness Dunn, BS), India (Rajya Sabha, the upper house, Prithviraj Chavan, MS), and Iran (Mohammad Javad Larijani, PhD); Nigerian Minister of Science and Technology and first Executive Governor of Abia State (Ogbonnaya Onu, PhD Chemical Engineering)

Alumni have also served in many supranational posts, notable among which are President of the World Bank (Robert McNamara, BS); Deputy Prime Minister of Spain and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (Rodrigo Rato, MBA); Executive Director of UNICEF (Ann Veneman, MPP); member of the European Parliament (Bruno Megret, MS); and judge of the World Court (Joan Donoghue, JD).

Alumni have made important contributions to science. Some have concentrated their studies on the very small universe of atoms and molecules. Nobel laureate William F. Giauque (BS 1920, PhD 1922) investigated chemical thermodynamics, Nobel laureate Willard Libby (BS 1931, PhD 1933) pioneered radiocarbon dating, Nobel laureate Willis Lamb (BS 1934, PhD 1938) examined the hydrogen spectrum, Nobel laureate Hamilton O. Smith (BA 1952) applied restriction enzymes to molecular genetics, Nobel laureate Robert Laughlin (BA math 1972) explored the fractional quantum Hall effect, and Nobel laureate Andrew Fire (BA math 1978) helped to discover RNA interference-gene silencing by double-stranded RNA. Nobel laureate Glenn T. Seaborg (PhD 1937) collaborated with Albert Ghiorso (BS 1913) to discover 12 chemical elements, such as americium, berkelium, and californium. David Bohm (PhD 1943) discovered Bohm Diffusion. Nobel laureate Yuan T. Lee (PhD 1965) developed the crossed molecular beam technique for studying chemical reactions. Carol Greider (PhD 1987), professor of molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering a key mechanism in the genetic operations of cells, an insight that has inspired new lines of research into cancer. Harvey Itano (BS 1942) conducted breakthrough work on sickle cell anemia that marked the first time a disease was linked to a molecular origin.[250] While he was valedictorian of UC Berkeley's class of 1942, he was unable to attend commencement exercises due to internment.[250] Narendra Karmarkar (PhD 1983) is known for the interior point method, a polynomial algorithm for linear programming known as Karmarkar's algorithm.[251] National Medal of Science laureate Chien-Shiung Wu (PhD 1940), often known as the "Chinese Madame Curie", disproved the Law of Conservation of Parity for which she was awarded the inaugural Wolf Prize in Physics.[252] Kary Mullis (PhD 1973) was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his role in developing the polymerase chain reaction,[253] a method for amplifying DNA sequences. Daniel Kahneman was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his work in Prospect theory. Richard O. Buckius, engineer, Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering '72, Masters '73, PhD '75, currently Chief Operating Officer of the National Science Foundation. Edward P. Tryon (PhD 1967) is the physicist who first said our universe originated from a quantum fluctuation of the vacuum.[254][255][256]

John N. Bahcall (BS 1956) worked on the Standard Solar Model and the Hubble Space Telescope,[257] resulting in a National Medal of Science.[257] Peter Smith (BS 1969) was the principal investigator and project leader for the NASA robotic explorer Phoenix,[258] which physically confirmed the presence of water on the planet Mars for the first time.[259] Astronauts James van Hoften (BS 1966), Margaret Rhea Seddon (BA 1970), Leroy Chiao (BS 1983), and Rex Walheim (BS 1984) have orbited the earth in NASA's fleet of space shuttles.

Undergraduate alumni have founded or cofounded such companies as Apple Computer,[260] Intel,[261] LSI Logic[262] The Gap,[263] MySpace,[264] PowerBar,[265] Berkeley Systems,[266] Bolt, Beranek and Newman[267] (which created a number of underlying technologies that govern the Internet), Chez Panisse,[268] GrandCentral (known now as Google Voice),[269] HTC Corporation,[270] VIA Technologies,[270] Marvell Technology Group,[271],[266] Opsware,[272] RedOctane,[273] Rimon Law P.C.,[274] SanDisk,[275] Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker,[276] VMware[277] and Zilog,[278] while graduate school alumni have cofounded companies such as DHL,[279] KeyHole Inc (known now as Google Earth),[280] Sun Microsystems,[281] and The Learning Company.[282] Berkeley alumni have also led various technology companies such as Electronic Arts,[283] Google,[284] Adobe Systems,[285] Softbank (Masayoshi Son) and Qualcomm.[286]

Berkeley alumni have developed a number of key technologies associated with the personal computer and the Internet.[287] Unix was created by alumnus Ken Thompson (BS 1965, MS 1966) along with colleague Dennis Ritchie. Alumni such as L. Peter Deutsch[288][289][290] (PhD 1973), Butler Lampson (PhD 1967), and Charles P. Thacker (BS 1967)[291] worked with Ken Thompson on Project Genie and then formed the ill-fated US Department of Defense-funded Berkeley Computer Corporation (BCC), which was scattered throughout the Berkeley campus in non-descript offices to avoid anti-war protestors.[292] After BCC failed, Deutsch, Lampson, and Thacker joined Xerox PARC, where they developed a number of pioneering computer technologies, culminating in the Xerox Alto that inspired the Apple Macintosh. In particular, the Alto used a computer mouse, which had been invented by Doug Engelbart (BEng 1952, PhD 1955). Thompson, Lampson, Engelbart, and Thacker[293] all later received a Turing Award. Also at Xerox PARC was Ronald V. Schmidt (BS 1966, MS 1968, PhD 1971), who became known as "the man who brought Ethernet to the masses".[294] Another Xerox PARC researcher, Charles Simonyi (BS 1972), pioneered the first WYSIWIG word processor program and was recruited personally by Bill Gates to join the fledgling company known as Microsoft to create Microsoft Word. Simonyi later became the first repeat space tourist, blasting off on Russian Soyuz rockets to work at the International Space Station orbiting the earth.

In 1977, a graduate student in the computer science department named Bill Joy (MS 1982) assembled[295] the original Berkeley Software Distribution, commonly known as BSD Unix. Joy, who went on to co-found Sun Microsystems, also developed the original version of the terminal console editor vi, while Ken Arnold (BA 1985) created Curses, a terminal control library for Unix-like systems that enables the construction of text user interface (TUI) applications. Working alongside Joy at Berkeley were undergraduates William Jolitz (BS 1997) and his future wife Lynne Jolitz (BA 1989), who together created 386BSD, a version of BSD Unix that runs on Intel CPUs and evolved into the BSD family of free operating systems and the Darwin operating system underlying Apple Mac OS X.[296] Eric Allman (BS 1977, MS 1980) created SendMail, a Unix mail transfer agent that delivers about 12 percent of the email in the world.[297]

The XCF, an undergraduate research group located in Soda Hall, has been responsible for a number of notable software projects, including GTK+ (created by Peter Mattis, BS 1997), The GIMP (Spencer Kimball, BS 1996), and the initial diagnosis of the Morris worm.[298] In 1992, Pei-Yuan Wei,[299] an undergraduate at the XCF, created ViolaWWW, one of the first graphical web browsers. ViolaWWW was the first browser to have embedded scriptable objects, stylesheets, and tables. In the spirit of Open Source, he donated the code to Sun Microsystems, inspiring Java applets( Kim Polese (BS 1984) was the original product manager for Java at Sun Microsystems.) ViolaWWW also inspired researchers at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to create the Mosaic web browser,[300] a pioneering web browser that became Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Alumni collectively have won at least twenty-one Pulitzer Prizes. Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Marguerite Higgins (BA 1941) was a pioneering female war correspondent[301][302] who covered World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.[303] Novelist Robert Penn Warren (MA 1927) won three Pulitzer Prizes,[304] including one for his novel All the King's Men, which was later made into an Academy Award-winning[305] movie. Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist Rube Goldberg (BS 1904) invented the comically complex—yet ultimately trivial—contraptions known as Rube Goldberg machines. Journalist Alexandra Berzon (MA 2006) won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009,[306] and journalist Matt Richtel (BA 1989), who also coauthors the comic strip Rudy Park under the pen name of "Theron Heir",[307] won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.[308] Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Leon Litwack (BA[309] 1951, PhD 1958) taught as a professor at UC Berkeley for 43 years;[310] three other UC Berkeley professors have also received the Pulitzer Prize. Alumna and professor Susan Rasky won the Polk Award for journalism in 1991. USC Professor and UC Berkeley alumna Viet Thanh Nguyen's (PhD 1997) first novel The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction[311]

Alumni have also written novels and screenplays that have attracted Oscar-caliber talent, including The Call of the Wild author Jack London. Irving Stone (BA 1923) wrote the novel Lust for Life, which was later made into an Academy Award-winning film of the same name starring Kirk Douglas as Vincent van Gogh. Stone also wrote The Agony and the Ecstasy, which was later made into a film of the same name starring Oscar winner Charlton Heston as Michelangelo. Mona Simpson (BA 1979) wrote the novel Anywhere But Here, which was later made into a film of the same name starring Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon. Terry McMillan (BA 1986) wrote How Stella Got Her Groove Back, which was later made into a film of the same name starring Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett. Randi Mayem Singer (BA 1979) wrote the screenplay for Mrs. Doubtfire, which starred Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams and Oscar-winning actress Sally Field. Audrey Wells (BA 1981) wrote the screenplay The Truth About Cats & Dogs, which starred Oscar-nominated actress Uma Thurman. James Schamus (BA 1982, MA 1987, PhD 2003) has collaborated on screenplays with Oscar-winning director Ang Lee on the Academy Award-winning movies Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain.

Collectively, alumni have won at least 20 Academy Awards. Gregory Peck (BA 1939), nominated for four Oscars during his career, won an Oscar for acting in To Kill a Mockingbird. Chris Innis (BA 1991) won the 2010 Oscar for film editing for her work on best picture winner, The Hurt Locker. Walter Plunkett (BA 1923) won an Oscar for costume design (for An American in Paris). Freida Lee Mock (BA 1961) and Charles H. Ferguson (BA 1978) have each[312][313] won an Oscar for documentary filmmaking. Mark Berger (BA 1964) has won four Oscars for sound mixing and is an adjunct professor at UC Berkeley.[314] Edith Head (BA 1918), who was nominated for 34 Oscars during her career, won eight Oscars for costume design. Joe Letteri (BA 1981[315]) has won four Oscars for Best Visual Effects in the James Cameron film Avatar and the Peter Jackson films King Kong, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.[316]

Alumni have collectively won at least 25 Emmy Awards: Jon Else (BA 1968) for cinematography; Andrew Schneider (BA 1973) for screenwriting; Linda Schacht (BA 1966, MA 1981), two for broadcast journalism;[317][318] Christine Chen (dual BA's 1990), two for broadcast journalism;[319] Kristen Sze (BA), two for broadcast journalism;[320] Kathy Baker (BA 1977), three for acting; Ken Milnes (BS 1977), four for broadcasting technology; and Leroy Sievers (BA),[321] twelve for production. Elisabeth Leamy is the recipient of 13 Emmy awards. [322][323][324]

Alumni have acted in classic television series that are still broadcast on TV today. Karen Grassle (BA 1965) played the mother Caroline Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie, Jerry Mathers (BA 1974) starred in Leave it to Beaver, and Roxann Dawson (BA 1980) portrayed B'Elanna Torres on Star Trek: Voyager.

Former undergraduates have participated in the contemporary music industry, such as Grateful Dead bass guitarist Phil Lesh, The Police drummer Stewart Copeland,[325] Rolling Stone Magazine founder Jann Wenner, The Bangles lead singer Susanna Hoffs (BA 1980), Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz, electronic music producer Giraffage, MTV correspondent Suchin Pak (BA 1997),[326] AFI musicians Davey Havok and Jade Puget (BA 1996), and solo artist Marié Digby (Say It Again). People Magazine included Third Eye Blind lead singer and songwriter Stephan Jenkins (BA 1987) in the magazine's list of 50 Most Beautiful People.[327]

Alumni have also participated in the world of sports. Tennis athlete Helen Wills Moody (BA 1925) won 31 Grand Slam titles, including eight singles titles at Wimbledon. Tarik Glenn (BA 1999) is a Super Bowl XLI champion. Michele Tafoya (BA 1988) is a sports television reporter for ABC Sports and ESPN.[328] Sports agent Leigh Steinberg ( BA 1970, JD 1973) has represented professional athletes such as Steve Young, Troy Aikman, and Oscar De La Hoya; Steinberg has been called the real-life inspiration[329] for the title character in the Oscar-winning[330] film Jerry Maguire (portrayed by Tom Cruise). Matt Biondi (BA 1988) won eight Olympic gold medals during his swimming career, in which he participated in three different Olympics. At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Natalie Coughlin (BA 2005) became the first American female athlete in modern Olympic history[331] to win six medals in one Olympics.

Berkeley alumni—often generous benefactors—have long been among the billionaire ranks, giving rise to many of the campus' eponymous schools, pavilions, centers, institutes, and halls, with some of the more prominent being J. Paul Getty, Sanford Diller and Helen Diller, Donald Fisher, and members of the Haas (Walter A. Haas, Rhoda Haas Goldman, Walter A. Haas Jr., Peter E. Haas, Bob Haas), Hearst, and Bechtel families. There are at least 18 living alumni billionaires: Masayoshi Son (SoftBank),[332] Gordon Moore (Intel founder), James Harris Simons, Jon Stryker (Stryker Medical Equipment),[333] Bill Joy (computer programmer and Sun Microsystems founder), Eric Schmidt (Google Chairman), Michael Milken, Bassam Alghanim (wealthiest Kuwaiti), Kutayba Alghanim,[334] Charles Simonyi (Microsoft), Cher Wang (HTC, wealthiest Taiwanese), Robert Haas (Levi Strauss & Co.), Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor (Interbank, Peru),[335] Fayez Sarofim, Daniel S. Loeb, Paul Merage, Victor Koo, and Lowell Milken.


  • Originally, military training was compulsory for male undergraduates and Berkeley housed an armory for that purpose. In 1917, Berkeley's ROTC program was established[336] and its School of Military Aeronautics trained future pilots, including Jimmy Doolittle, who graduated with a BA in 1922. Both Robert McNamara and Frederick C. Weyand graduated from Berkeley's ROTC program, earning BA degrees in 1937 and 1938, respectively. In 1926, future fleet admiral Chester W. Nimitz established the first Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps unit at Berkeley. During World War II, the military increased its presence on campus to recruit more officers, and by 1944, more than 1,000 Berkeley students were enrolled in the V-12 Navy College Training Program and naval training school for diesel engineering.[337] The Board of Regents ended compulsory military training at Berkeley in 1962.
  • Various human and animal rights groups have conflicted with Berkeley. Native Americans conflicted with the school over repatriation of remains from the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology.[338] Animal-rights activists have threatened faculty members using animals for research.[339] The school's response to tree sitters protesting construction caused controversy in the local community.[340]
  • Cal's seismically unsafe Memorial Stadium reopened September 2012 after a $321-million renovation. The university incurred a controversial $445 million of debt for the stadium and a new $153-million student athletic center, which it planned to finance with the sale of special stadium endowment seats. However, in June 2013 news surfaced that the university has had trouble selling the seats.[341] The roughly $18-million interest-only annual payments on the debt consumes 20 percent of Cal's athletics' budget; principal repayment begins in 2032 and is scheduled to conclude in 2113.[342]
  • On May 1, 2014, Berkeley was named one of fifty-five higher education institutions under investigation by the Office of Civil Rights "for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints" by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.[343] Investigations have continued into 2016, with hundreds of pages of records released in April 2016, showing a pattern of documented sexual harassment and firings of non-tenured staff.[344]
  • On July 25, 2019, Berkeley was removed from the U.S. News Best Colleges Ranking for misreporting statistics. Berkeley had originally reported that its two-year average alumni giving rate for fiscal years 2017 and 2016 was 11.6 percent, U.S. News said. The school later told U.S. News the correct average alumni giving rate for the 2016 fiscal year was just 7.9 percent. The school incorrectly overstated its alumni giving data to U.S. News since at least 2014. The alumni giving rate accounts for 5 percent of the Best Colleges ranking.[345]

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Further reading

  • Brechin, Gray (1999). Imperial San Francisco. UC Press Ltd. ISBN 0-520-21568-0.
  • Cerny, Susan Dinkelspiel (2001). Berkeley Landmarks: An Illustrated Guide to Berkeley, California's Architectural Heritage. Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. ISBN 0-9706676-0-4.
  • Freeman, Jo (2003). At Berkeley in the Sixties: The Education of an Activist, 1961–1965. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-21622-2.
  • Helfand, Harvey (2001). University of California, Berkeley. Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 1-56898-293-3.
  • Owens, MFEM (2004). America's Best Value Colleges. The Princeton Review. ISBN 0-375-76373-2.
  • Rorabaugh, W. J. (1990). Berkeley at War: The 1960s. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506667-7.
  • Wiseman, Frederick (Director) (2013). At Berkeley (Motion picture). Zipporah Films.
  • Wong, Geoffrey (May 2001). A Golden State of Mind. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1-55212-635-8.

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