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"Welcome"
February 10, 2000

Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl


Well, thank you very much, John. I'm very pleased to see so many of you here today, interested in this topic. And it's a great privilege to be able to welcome you on behalf of this campus to the Art Museum, and to the Film Archive. And I hope that in the course, you've already seen, I think, many of you, the exhibits, and I hope you have a chance to study those closely while you're here. I also want to thank the Center for Studies in Higher Education for organizing this event; to the Hearst Foundation for providing a generous grant in support of the symposium, I understand that Tom Easton from the Hearst Foundation is here today; to the Capital Projects Office and those who have been working with Vice Chancellor Denton on the New Century Plan for the symposium; and to the other sponsors, the Environmental Design Archives, the Berkeley Art Museum, the Institute of Governmental Studies, the Bancroft Library, and to all of the distinguished panelists and speakers for their time. As you can see, this symposium is really an effort that has brought many people together in many different kinds of collaborations here. And I believe, although I can't see very clearly who all is here, that Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, who is the new Chancellor of UC Merced is here; and President Handel Evans of CSU Channel Islands, he's not here; I believe Regent Kosberg will be here later. But these folks are involved in building new campuses, and it seems to me perfectly wonderful that they have this blank canvas to write on as they plan a new campus, and that they think in terms of a master plan.

The exhibit is, I think, remarkable--the drawings that you've seen, the various plans that were submitted for the Hearst Plan are really quite remarkable. And it seems to me worth thinking about, that 100 years ago when this campus was simply a vision, that it was going to be such an important place as to invest so heavily in this master planning effort.

A master plan is really a statement of determination for a university--it is a statement of hope and of promise, of expectations for the students and the faculty, and the people who will be drawn to it. As Robert Sibley, who is a distinguished alumnist, recalled in his book, A California Pilgrimage--A Treasury of Campus Tradition, Lore, and Laughter, he wrote in this in 1898, as a senior in the Los Angeles High School, 'News came that seemed to my boyish imagination a message from heaven. A Mrs. Phoebe Apperson Hearst, so the announcement read, had offered a prize of $80,000 to architects the world over for the best visualization of a university campus of beauty and dignity for boys and girls of California. Everywhere youngsters of my acquaintance saw this as a great vision, as an awakening of a thrilling promise. Spurred by this great dream, like hundreds of others of my age, I entered the University in the fall of 1899, convinced that there was a new tomorrow of marvelous possibility.'

Well, I don't know how much $80,000 would translate into today's dollars, but it would be, I guess, in the tens of millions. And it's an extraordinary statement by Phoebe Apperson Hearst, who was the great benefactor of this campus, and her shrine is everywhere around us, of confidence in the future of this university and a statement about how important she and the other founders of the University intended this place to be.

As I look at the Hearst Plan and the plans that won in the competition, I don't think we've really paid enough attention to that over the course of the last century, and I suspect that many of you have felt the same way. I see Mike Heyman here, and he grappled, I'm sure, with many of the issues that all chancellors have grappled with, in terms of the condition of buildings, and the placement of buildings, and all the rest that relate to the development of the campus. But like all campuses in America, somewhere in the post-War expansion period, and most campuses did have master plans--as I look at the two campuses with which I was most closely associated, the University of Illinois and the University of Texas, both of them were developed as a consequence of some really beautiful master plans that were done early in the century; both of them lost sight of those master plans in the enormous expansion that took place in the post-World War II period. So we're not unique in that. But in all cases, I don't think we've done a very good job in creating the relationships between the various elements of our environment--building to building, building to open space, building to main arteries, landscape to hardscape. This seems to me means that we have ended up with some very curious phenomena on this campus as I look about the campus. We have buildings that form courtyards, but have no openings onto those courtyards. For example, Warren Hall, which is a part of a, really, a small quad in the northwest quadrant of the campus. The main opening to Warren Hall is not onto that courtyard; in fact, there is no opening onto that courtyard. And the same is true of several other buildings. California Hall, where the Chancellor's Office is located, does not employ the main entrance, we employ the back entrance, a fairly strange kind of phenomenon and outgrowth of how the main arteries have connected, rather than how one has connected the main arteries to the main openings of the buildings. And the same is true, actually, of Doe Library, most people use the back door going into the library.

We also have given in to particular design approaches that I think most of us might regret. One could hardly look at Evans Hall, for example, and have stirrings of pride about either its placement, or its massing, or its architectural design. It, in a sense, is a barrier to the vision that the Master Plan had, that was a long mall that went up to Hearst Memorial Circle from the west entrance, connecting the west entrance to the east entrance with a main artery, and right across that artery, we have planted this really monstrous architectural piece. I hope the architect of Evans Hall isn't here. But it does remind one of a bunker. Much of the turbulence that the campus faced in the late 1960's related to People's Park, had to do not simply with the acquisition of land on the south side of the campus, but with how that land was being put to use with high-rise, rather unattractive residence halls that were built there, and the failure to relate what the campus was doing in that area to the neighborhood in which it was embedded.

So as we think about the design of the campus tomorrow, it's important it seems to me that we think also about the mistakes that we have made in failing to pay attention to some of the really exquisite plans that were developed early in the century. Now, I'm also aware that there are those who say that the campus tomorrow will not be of bricks and mortar. Peter Drucker said that these campuses that we now inhabit will be decaying old relics of the past as we move into the new cyberspace, and the only space that needs to be designed is cyberspace. I don't happen to believe that, I think that people still have a need to connect with one another, I think they still have a need to feel situated in a location and to collaborate in the process of learning in a face-to-face fashion. So I think campuses, though they will be very different and though any master plan, I think, has to take into account the kind of technological world into which we are moving, I also believe that master plans for the future will have to be master plans that plan space, and plan building and landscape and hardscape in a thoughtful way.

I hope that in the 21st century, as we think about these issues, we do a better job of living up to the standards of beauty and character and harmony that our predecessors set for Berkeley at the beginning of the 20th century. And I'm very excited to see that you folks are, as well, interested in that process. We face a complex set of issues and needs today. The facilities and planning challenges facing the University of California today are, if anything, more daunting and more complex than they were at the beginning of the century when this was simply a vision, and certainly as daunting and complex as they were in the middle of the century in the expansion that came in the post-War world. And it isn't simply that older campuses like Berkeley lost sight of a vision, many of the newer campuses--and this, it seems to me, a word of caution to those of you like Chancellor Tomlinson-Keasey, who are planning new campuses, we didn't do too well even with the new campuses, it seems, that we built in the 60's and in the 70's. As you know, there are many standard jokes about how many students at Berkeley it takes to screw in a light bulb. It takes 50, 25 to demonstrate for it and 25 to demonstrate against it. But the phrase for Riverside and Irvine, how many students does it take to screw in a light bulb at Riverside or Irvine? It doesn't take any because it looks better in the dark. It does reflect something, it seems to me, about perceptions of attention to planning that went on at those campuses.

Here at Berkeley, we don't have a blank canvas to work with anymore, the Berkeley campus is built-out and space-starved. And it's difficult to find any site that is buildable and impossible to find any site that is uncontroversial. So that we live in a planning situation that has no easy or good choices. And we are going to have to make the best choices that we possibly can, but that means much more attention to planning and thinking about what those best choices might be than in anytime, I think, in the past.

We live, in part, as well, in a world in which we are prone to big seismic activity, and there are environmental issues that we have to face when we design buildings in ways that were not a matter of concern even two decades ago--a strain on existing resources, issues of traffic, issues of pollution and the like. And we are now a part of a community that includes a city of approximately 90,000, with whom we must try to work quite closely. And that at times presents profound challenges, as well as anyone who lives in the City of Berkeley well knows.

All of these things were not major issues when the original Plan was designed in 1900. In 1900, there was an existing population of students at 2,000; only less than, I think, 200 faculty and staff. This was a large university for its era, but no one thought in terms of a university that would approach 30,000 students or several thousand faculty and staff. It takes really major master planning to think far out. At the University of Illinois, I always marveled at the fact that a library that was built in 1926 and had had in the course of the time since its original construction, seven additions to the stacks, still was designed in a place that would accommodate seven more additions to the stacks. Now, they may not be necessary because of technology, but somebody thought far ahead in 1924 in the placement of that library in such a way, recognizing that the need for expansion would be many-fold over the decades and perhaps century that that library would be employed.

Let me talk just briefly about some of the challenges that we face at Berkeley as we look to planning for the future. The first does relate clearly to the SAFER Program and to the seismic vulnerability of the campus. A new seismic survey of the campus taken in the summer of 1997, discovered that 3 million square feet of our buildings, or 27% of them, were not earthquake-safe. Fixing this is a high priority, as we move, and we move as quickly as we possibly can on this. This is a project that when completed will run well over a billion dollars. It was going to cost roughly a billion dollars in 1997 dollars. We have one major project under construction now that I think you may want to take a look at, and that is the Hearst Mining Building, which is a very, I think, extraordinary project, and one that is both expensive, but will restore that building to its original beauty and elegance as one of the really hallmarks of beauty, a part of the original construction of the campus. Other projects and construction this spring, Wurster Hall and Barker Hall will be underway. Eight more projects are in the design phase, for a very large total of dollars, in the range of $400 million, total. By 2005, we will begin design on an additional five projects related to seismic safety.

The funding for all of these projects is coming from a range of sources, and we are every bit as dependent today as the original Plan was, on private support. That is, it comes in large part from private support, with a few dollars from the state government and some from campus resources. The SAFER Program, if we're fortunate, will be completed by 2020, and the priority setting for the renovation of those buildings is really quite substantial. By next fall, we will have 900 construction workers working at various places on this campus. Think about the pressure that that in itself creates, in terms of traffic, parking, servicing, and the rest. So that the trenching that we see on campus today, the construction projects, the various staging areas that are so disruptive and unattractive are going to continue for a long time.

We already have also begun a plan for the new century, with discussions on campus and within the community about how to renew the foundations for excellence on this campus. In addition to the seismic concerns that I've mentioned, we know that we will have to accommodate between three and four thousand additional students over the next decade. If this year's application numbers are any indicator--and they're up by over 5%--the Tidal Wave 2 is beginning to hit, and we have an obligation, I think, as a system and as a campus to address the needs for access of tomorrow's students coming to higher education in California. Many of our newest buildings on this campus are older or at least as old as some of the oldest buildings on the newer campuses in the University system. We must bring these buildings up to code and to modern standards. But beyond that, if we are to maintain the kind of faculty that Berkeley has attracted in its history, making it the premier university in the United States, we have to renew the laboratories, the classrooms, the buildings in which that faculty is housed. We have to maximize our space in terms of quality and usage. And this means upgrading the technology in those buildings, it means creating new laboratory space at tremendous cost, but we have to do this if we're going to be able to maintain a campus. We also have satellite locations, like Richmond, and we need, as well, to incorporate planning for the use of those locations in the master planning effort of this campus.

So we must ensure, it seems to me, that the vision that Phoebe Apperson Hearst and Benjamin Ide Wheeler had for building a great university in 1900, is sustained in the 21st century, and that as we renew the foundations for this great university, we are committed to the same quality and planning and excellence that they had when the Master Plan began.

So I welcome you to this symposium, hope that you learn a lot and that we learn a lot from it, and am delighted once again to welcome you all here, and we look forward to hearing the conclusions and the contributions that people have to the whole effort that's underway here. Thank you very much.



Robert Berdahl took office in July of 1997 as the eighth Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to his arrival at Berkeley he had served, since 1993, as President of the University of Texas at Austin. From 1986 to 1993 he was Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Berdahl earned degrees from Augustana College, South Dakota, the University of Illinois, and the University of Minnesota. A historian by training with special interest in German history, he served as a member of the history faculty at the University of Oregon from 1967 to 1986, where he also served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1981 to 1986. As President at UT Austin and Chancellor at Berkeley he has taught freshmen seminar classes and worked to strengthen a sense of community on campus. He has authored two books and numerous articles on German history, and has received numerous honors and awards.

 

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