Fiat Lux Redux: Ansel Adams and Clark Kerr

University in Metamorphosis

During Kerr’s tenure as president, the university planned and built three new campuses, Irvine, San Diego, and Santa Cruz.

 

Of their work documenting the UC system between 1964-67, Ansel Adams and Nancy Newhall said "On many campuses, the University was being torn down, rebuilt and expanded at a rate unbelievable, perhaps, except by eyewitnesses. Buildings were being demolished and carted away. Bulldozers were excavating new sites and roads, and carving out new landscapes. Cranes were lifting up girders and swinging shapes of precast concrete into place. . . . Visually, the University was in metamorphosis."

Clark Kerr, Groundbreaking Ceremony, ca. 1965

Clark Kerr, Groundbreaking Ceremony, ca. 1965

Clark Kerr (1911-2003)

Clark Kerr served as 12th president of the University of California (1958-1967), and guided the University during some of the greatest and most challenging periods in its history. He earned his doctorate in economics from Berkeley in 1939, after receiving degrees from Swarthmore and Stanford, and was appointed assistant professor of industrial relations in Berkeley’s School of Business Administration in 1945. During the McCarthy-era Loyalty Oath Controversy Kerr’s skill as a negotiator won him the trust of UC’s faculty, administration and regents and led to his appointment as Berkeley’s first chancellor in 1952. As president, Kerr’s Master Plan for Higher Education in 1960 guided the development of California’s three-tier system widely regarded as among the world’s best. In 1964 the American Council on Education lauded Berkeley as the “best balanced distinguished” university in America. Kerr came under attack from both sides of the political spectrum for his handling of the Free Speech Movement (1964-1965) and subsequent campus protests, and he became a political target in Ronald Reagan’s gubernatorial campaign of 1966. Upon his election Reagan led the Regents to dismiss Kerr in 1967. Kerr remained a member of the Berkeley faculty and concluded his professional career as director of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, later the Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education (1967-1980).   

Time, October 17, 1960

Time, October 17, 1960

National recognition of Kerr’s influential Godkin Lectures at Harvard, later published as Uses of the University.

“The Knowledge Industry,” The New York Times, May 5, 1963, p. 10E

“The Knowledge Industry,” The New York Times, May 5, 1963, p. 10E

Ansel Adams received an honorary degree from UC Berkeley.

Clark Kerr, Ansel Adams, and Joel Hildebrand, Charter Day 1961

Clark Kerr, Ansel Adams, and Joel Hildebrand, Charter Day 1961