NO.65 SUMMER 2004

The Library Associates

Join more than 6,000 other friends, book lovers, alumni, and faculty who recognize that the influence of a great research library reaches beyond the university it serves to the many communities of which it is a part.

Library Associates receive complimentary copies of the quarterly newsletter Bene Legere, as well as invitations to special occasions at the Library. For more information on the Library Associates program, please write or telephone: The Library Development Office, Room 131 Doe Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000; telephone (510) 642-9377. Or, check our website.


Changes at the Top

Thank you, Chancellor Berdahl
Welcome to the Library, Chancellor Birgeneau

Following seven years of service, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl retires this summer.

Berdahl and Twain

Mark Twain and Chancellor Robert Berdahl.

As Chairman of the Library Advisory Board, it is fitting that in the April 2004 issue of the California Monthly, Chancellor Berdahl is photographed in the Doe Library as he sits on the bronze bench alongside Mark Twain. "He's kind of a library creature," notes University Librarian Tom Leonard, referring to Berdahl's delight in books and scholarship. "He responded to faculty and students who were aware of the terrible deterioration of the Library following the budget crisis of the early 1990s, and he made the library his top priority when he came in." Such behind-the-scenes actions mirror this chancellor's style-quiet, steady, and resolved.

The San Francisco Chronicle has acknowledged that the Library "blossomed under Berdahl after being universally acknowledged to be teetering on a budgetary precipice when he arrived." Under his leadership, the University invested substantial resources in the Library, resulting in the Library climbing back into third place among university libraries, behind only Harvard and Yale.

Retirement for Chancellor Berdahl, however, is a relative term, and following a sabbatical he will return to the History Department and, more importantly, rejoin the Library Advisory Board, where he will continue an impressive record of support and work on behalf of the Library.

It would be hard to find a better or more fitting place to announce the appointment of Cal's ninth chancellor, Robert J. Birgeneau, than the Morrison Library. The UC Board of Regents made their decision public on July 27th in the beautifully appointed and well-loved Morrison Library to a huge crowd of students, faculty, staff and members of the media.

Birgeneau, currently the president of the University of Toronto, was described by UC President Robert C. Dynes, as someone "who cares deeply about students, is courageous, compassionate, and will work tirelessly to sustain this university." After his introduction by Chancellor Berdahl, Birgeneau addressed the larger UC Berkeley community outside on the steps of Doe Library and Memorial Glade. He said that he has been a fan of UC Berkeley, both for its academic achievements and its commitment to improving society.

Birgeneau and Twain

Mark Twain and Chancellor Robert Birgeneau.

"It is a tremendous honor to accept this appointment, and I am truly excited to be joining the UC Berkeley community," Birgeneau said. "Berkeley is a remarkably innovative institution that continually sets new standards of excellence. I am eager to begin working with everyone in the Berkeley community- faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the broader community. Together, we will continue this university's world-renowned tradition of producing cutting-edge research, creating new knowledge, and teaching and developing tomorrow's leaders."

We could tell that Chancellor Birgeneau is a "library creature" too, as right after his appointment as incoming chancellor, he took a moment to sit on that same bronze bench alongside Mark Twain.

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Originally published Summer 2004. Server manager: contact