UC Berkeley Library

Spotlight on Supporters: Chris Weicher '73

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CBS news producer Chris Weicher (’73) sees a connection between her love of libraries and her instincts as a professional journalist, saying “I love the hunt! I love unearthing buried connections, discovering stories, and getting the scoop. Libraries are goldmines for that exploration.”

As an undergraduate at Cal and an aspiring playwright, Weicher wanted to write drama reviews for the Daily Californian, viewing the role as a potential source of free tickets. “It was 1969, with a lot of unrest on campus, and the editor told me they really needed reporters. Next thing I knew, I was standing beside a burning police car.”

Weicher took to reporting naturally, and in her senior year served as the Daily Cal’s editor-in-chief. She graduated in 1973 with a double major in journalism and dramatic arts. After attending Columbia Journalism School and landing several news jobs, she became a producer at CBS News in 1979.

Career highlights so far have included working for the CBS Morning News anchor Charles Kuralt in 1980; covering El Salvador's civil war; and investigating the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. A 2001 piece on “Inside Flight 93” was recognized with an Emmy Award, her second. One of Weicher’s most recent projects was a documentary for the Discovery Channel on renewable energy.

After twenty years in New York City, Weicher returned to the Bay Area with her husband, a doctor, and her son, who is a freshman at UCLA. Here, she has continued to use UC Berkeley’s Library, most recently to research two relatives who immigrated from the Italian canton of Switzerland in the late 1800s and became important in early California banking. One of them, Matthias Pedrotti, who started at age 16 as a dairy hand in Bolinas, eventually founded the Bank of San Rafael and served on the Marin County Board of Supervisors. “The records of people like this can only be found in the University Library,” Weicher says. “The preservation of history is a vital component of libraries’ mission.”

She considers the University Library one of the great jewels of the western U.S. “It is just extraordinary. Of all the things one could contribute to at the University, the Library is at the top of the list,” she says. “It must be preserved and maintained so that future generations can enjoy its riches, just as we have.”

Fall 2009

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