University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley (also referred to as Cal, Berkeley and UC Berkeley) is a major research university located in Berkeley, California, United States. The oldest of the ten major campuses affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley offers some 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. The university occupies with the central campus resting on approximately .

The University was founded in 1868 in a merger of the private College of California and the public Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College. Berkeley was a founding member of the Association of American Universities and 62 Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the university as faculty, researchers and alumni. Berkeley physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was the scientific director of the Manhattan Project headquartered at Los Alamos, New Mexico, during World War II. Since that time, the university has managed or co-managed the Los Alamos National Laboratory, as well as its later rival, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Berkeley student-athletes compete intercollegiately as the California Golden Bears. A member of both the Pacific-10 Conference and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in the NCAA, Cal students have won national titles in many sports, including football, men's basketball, baseball, softball, water polo, rugby and crew. In addition, they have won over 100 Olympic medals. The official colors of the university and its athletic teams are Yale blue and California gold.

According to the UC Berkeley website, the current market value of the university's endowment is $2.89 billion. A major new fundraising campaign is set to begin in September 2008.



In 1866, the land that comprises the current Berkeley campus was purchased by the private College of California. Because it lacked sufficient funds to operate, it eventually merged with the state-run Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College to form the University of California. The university's charter was signed by California Governor Henry H. Haight on March 23, 1868. Professor John Le Conte was appointed interim president, serving until 1870 when the Board of Regents elected Henry Durant, the founder of the College of California.

The university opened in September 1869 using the former College of California's buildings in Oakland as a temporary home while the new campus underwent construction. In 1871, the Board of Regents stated that women should be admitted on an equal basis with men. With the completion of North and South Halls in 1873, the university relocated to its Berkeley location with 167 male and 222 female students.

Early development

Starting in 1891, Phoebe Apperson Hearst, mother of William Randolph Hearst, made several large gifts to Berkeley, endowing a number of programs, sponsoring an international architectural competition, and funding the construction of Hearst Memorial Mining Building and Hearst Hall. In 1899, the University came of age under the direction of Benjamin Ide Wheeler, the University's President until 1919. In 1905, the "University Farm" of Berkeley was formed near Sacramento, ultimately becoming UC Davis. UC Berkeley's reputation grew as President Wheeler succeeded in attracting renowned faculty to the campus and procuring research and scholarship funds. The campus began to take on the look of a contemporary university with Beaux-Arts and neoclassical buildings, including California Memorial Stadium (1923) designed by architect John Galen Howard; these buildings form the core of UC Berkeley's present campus architecture.

In the 1910s, Berkeley had a significant role in the Indian independence movement, when Indian students studying at the university took an active part in forming the radical Ghadar Party - especially in publishing its paper, The Hindustan Ghadar, beyond the reach of the British colonial police in India.

Robert Gordon Sproul assumed the presidency in 1930 and during his tenure of 28 years, UC Berkeley gained international recognition as a major research university. Prior to taking office, Sproul took a six month tour of other universities and colleges to study their educational and administrative methods and to establish connections through which he could draw talented faculty in the future. The Great Depression and World War II led to funding cutbacks, but Sproul was able to maintain academic and research standards by campaigning for private funds. By 1942, the American Council on Education ranked UC Berkeley second only to Harvard University in the number of distinguished departments.

World War II

During World War II, Ernest Orlando Lawrence's Radiation Laboratory in the hills above Berkeley began to contract with the U.S. Army to develop the atomic bomb, which would involve Berkeley's cutting-edge research in nuclear physics, including Glenn Seaborg's then-secret discovery of plutonium (Room 307 of Gilman Hall, where Seaborg discovered plutonium, would later be a National Historic Landmark). UC Berkeley physics professor J. Robert Oppenheimer was named scientific head of the Manhattan Project in 1942. Along with the descendant of the Radiation Lab, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of California originally managed and is now a partner in managing two other labs of similar age, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which were established in 1943 and 1952, respectively.

1950s and 1960s political influences

During the McCarthy era in 1949, the Board of Regents adopted an anti-communist loyalty oath to be signed by all University of California employees. A number of faculty members objected to the oath requirement and were dismissed; ten years passed before they were reinstated with back pay. One of them, Edward C. Tolman—the noted comparative psychologist— has a building on campus named after him housing the departments of psychology and education. An oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic" is still required of all UC employees.

In 1952, the University of California became an entity separate from the Berkeley campus as part of a major restructuring of the UC system. Each campus was given relative autonomy and its own Chancellor. Sproul assumed the presidency of the entire University of California system, and Clark Kerr became the first Chancellor of UC Berkeley.

1960s and the Free Speech Movement

UC Berkeley’s reputation for student activism was forged in the 1960s, beginning with the Free Speech Movement in 1964. An impromptu response to the university’s ban on campus political activity, the Free Speech Movement led to the formal establishment of students’ freedom of expression. Student protests continued through the Vietnam War era in the 1960s, as campuses across the nation spoke out against American involvement in the war. Perhaps the most publicized event in Berkeley was the People's Park protest in 1969, which was a conflict between the university and a number of Berkeley students and city residents over a plot of land on which the university intended to construct athletic fields. A grassroots effort by students and residents turned it into a community park, but after a few weeks, the university decided to reclaim control over the property. Law enforcement was sent in and the park was bulldozed, setting off a protest. California governor Ronald Reagan — who had said in his gubernatorial election campaign that he would clean up the perceived unruliness at Berkeley and other university campuses — called in National Guard troops and more violence erupted, resulting in over a dozen people hospitalized, a police officer stabbed, a bystander blinded, and the death of one student. The university ultimately decided not to develop People’s Park, though it remains the owner of the property.

Present day

Today, students at UC Berkeley are generally considered to be less politically active than their predecessors, and far more conservative than the surrounding city of Berkeley. In a poll conducted in 2005, 51% of Berkeley freshmen considered themselves liberal, 37% considered themselves moderate, and 12% identified as conservative. 43.8% have no religious preference compared to a national average of 17.6%. In 1982, 20.8% identified as conservative, 32.9% identified as liberals, and 46.4% identified as moderate. Although Republicans are in the minority, the Berkeley College Republicans is the largest student organization on campus. Democrats outnumber Republicans on the faculty by a ratio of nine to one, leading to some conservative student criticism of the faculty for teaching with a liberal bias.

Although considered a liberal institution by some, various human and animal rights groups have protested the research conducted at Berkeley. Native American groups contend that the university's dismantling of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology's repatriation unit demonstrates unwillingness to comply with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, while Berkeley officials say the museum's reorganization complies with the law and will involve all museum staff in the repatriation process. Animal-rights activists have taken to committing various acts of vandalism and intimidation against faculty members whose research involves the use of animals. Additionally, the university's response to a group of tree sitters protesting the construction of a new athletic center has galvanized some members of the local community, including the city council, against the university. Plans to renovate Memorial Stadium in a way that would eliminate a view of the field from the surrounding hills also have encountered opposition from alumni and others who have regularly watched Cal football games for free.

As of 2006, the 32,347-student university needed more capital investment just to maintain current infrastructure than any other campus in the UC system, but as its enrollment is at capacity, it often receives less state money for improvement projects than other, growing campuses in the system. As state funding for higher education declines, Berkeley has increasingly turned to private sources to maintain basic research programs. In 2007, the oil giant BP donated $500 million to Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to establish a joint research laboratory to develop biofuels, the Hewlett Foundation gave $113 million to endow 100 faculty chairs, and Dow Chemical gave $10 million for a research program in sustainability to be overseen by a Dow executive.

British Petroleum / BP Deal

The $500 million ten-year contract between UC Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and BP (formerly BP Amoco), one of the world’s largest energy production companies, officially went into effect Wednesday November 14, 2007 following approval by a majority of the faculty. The grant is the largest in the University’s history. The deal has garnered criticism from some students and faculty who claim the agreement was negotiated in secret, and that it threatens Berkeley’s reputation as an autonomous and democratic institution of higher learning. Supporters of the deal, on the other hand, assert that the infusion of capital from the venture will benefit the campus as a whole at a time when public universities are dealing with increasing cuts in State and Federal funding. They also point out that the BP deal focuses on developing alternative energy, an important issue in today's world.

Nuclear physicist and BP Chief Scientist Steve Koonin began the process that led to BP’s selection of Berkeley as a co-recipient of the grant. Berkeley faculty and graduate students will aid BP scientists in designing and implementing genetically modified plants and microbes which can be used in the Bio-fuel industry. The deal is controversial among some UC Berkeley faculty, with some professors including Ignacio Chapela and Miguel Altieri who claim that the project will displace farmland needed for food crops in poor nations and replace them with patented crops owned by multinational corporations, and others including Randy Schekman speaking out in support of the deal.

In March 2007 the UC Regents, who signed the deal, voted to build a new research facility to house the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), BP’s chosen name for the project. University officials describe it as “the first public-private institution of this scale in the world.”


The Berkeley campus encompasses approximately 1,232 acres (5 km²), though the "central campus" occupies only the low-lying western 178 acres (0.7 km²) of this area. Of the remaining 1000 acres (4 km²), approximately 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 ecological preserve, the University of California Botanical Garden and a recreation center in Strawberry Canyon. 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; situated north of that are the upscale residential neighborhoods of the Berkeley Hills, where many faculty members live. 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 some land to the northwest of the main campus, a 90 acre married student housing in nearby town of Albany ("Albany Village" and the "Gill Tract"), a field research station several miles to the north in Richmond, California. Outside of the Bay Area, the University owns various research laboratories and research forests in both northern and southern Sierra Nevada.


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. The winner was Frenchman Emile Bernard, 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 Sather Tower (nicknamed "the Campanile" after its architectural inspiration, St Mark's Campanile in Venice). 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 and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Built in 1873 in a Victorian Second-Empire-style, South Hall is the oldest university building in California. It, and the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Piedmont Avenue east of the main campus, are the only remnants from the original University of California before John Galen Howard's buildings were constructed. Other architects whose work can be found in the campus and surrounding area are Bernard Maybeck (best known for the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco), Maybeck's student Julia Morgan (Hearst Women's Gymnasium), Charles Willard Moore (Haas School of Business) and Joseph Esherick (Wurster Hall).

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.

The campus sits on the Hayward Fault, which runs directly through California Memorial Stadium.



The position of Chancellor was created in 1952 during the reorganization and expansion of the University of California; there have since been nine inaugurated chancellors (one was acting chancellor):

Chancellors of UC Berkeley Years as Chancellor
1 Clark Kerr (1952–58)
2 Glenn T. Seaborg (1958–61)
3 Edward W. Strong (1961–65)
4 Martin E. Meyerson (1965, acting)
5 Roger W. Heyns (1965–71)
6 Albert H. Bowker (1971–80)
7 Ira Michael Heyman (1980–90)
8 Chang-Lin Tien (1990–97)
9 Robert M. Berdahl (1997–2004)
10 Robert J. Birgeneau (2004–present)

Colleges and schools

Berkeley's 130-plus academic departments and programs are organized into 14 unique colleges and schools. "Colleges" are both undergraduate and graduate, while "Schools" are generally graduate only, though some offer undergraduate majors, minors, or courses.

Academic Centers

  • Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Ambassador Farid Abboud and Ambassador Barbara Bodine visit Berkeley

Labor unions representing UC Berkeley employees

  • AFSCME American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — service workers and patient care technical employees
  • CNA California Nurses Association — Nurses
  • CUE Coalition of University Employees — clerical and child-care workers
  • UAW United Auto Workers — Academic student employees
  • UC-AFT University Council-American Federation of Teachers — lecturers and librarians
  • UPTE University Professional and Technical Employees — health care, technical and research workers


Berkeley is a comprehensive university, offering over 7,000 courses in nearly 300 degree programs. The university awards over 5,500 bachelor's degrees, 2,000 master's degrees, 900 doctorates, and 200 law degrees each year. The student-faculty ratio is 15.5 to 1, and the average class consists of 30 students (not including discussion sections led by graduate student instructors). Class size ranges from introductory courses with hundreds of students and seminars with fewer than ten.

Berkeley's current faculty includes 227 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellows, 2 Fields Medal winners, 83 Fulbright Scholars, 139 Guggenheim Fellows, 87 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 132 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 8 Nobel Prize winners, 3 Pulitzer Prize winners, 84 Sloan Fellows, and 7 Wolf Prize winners. 61 Nobel Laureates are associated with the university, the sixth most of any university in the world; twenty have served on its faculty. (See list of distinguished Berkeley faculty.)

Berkeley's enrollment of National Merit Scholars was third in the nation until 2002, when participation in the National Merit program was discontinued.

Berkeley awards the following degrees: B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., M.F.A., M.B.A., M.F.E., M.C.P., M.Arch., M.Eng., M.F., M.I.M.S., M.J., M.L.A., M.P.H., M.P.P., M.S.W., M.U.D., LL.M., C. Phil., Ph.D., D.Eng., Ed.D., O.D., Dr.P.H., J.D., J.S.D.


According to the National Research Council, Berkeley ranks first nationally in the number of graduate programs in the top ten in their fields (97%, 35 of 36 programs) and first nationally in the number of "distinguished" programs for the scholarship of the faculty (32 programs). Berkeley is the only university in the nation to achieve top 5 rankings for all of its PhD programs in those disciplines covered by the US News and World Report graduate school survey. In a survey of "Top American Research Universities" released by The Center for Measuring University Performance at Arizona State University, Berkeley ranked seventh overall and first among public institutions.

In addition to its distinguished post-graduate programs, US News also consistently ranks Berkeley as the nation’s top undergraduate public university and within the top three overall for both Undergraduate Business and Undergraduate Engineering, and for 2008 Berkeley was ranked third in Business and second in Engineering. Berkeley was ranked twenty-first among "National Universities" in US News and World Report's 2008 rankings. In its 2007 annual college rankings, The Washington Monthly ranked Berkeley third nationally with criteria based on research, community service, and social mobility. 31% of admitted students receive federal Pell grants.

The THES - QS World University Rankings ranked Berkeley eighth in the world in 2006 and 22nd in the world in 2007, and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute for Higher Education ranked Berkeley third in the world in its 2007 rankings. Those rankings were based upon alumni and faculty quality defined by academic reputation, as well as awards won, papers published, international presence, student to faculty ratio, frequency of citation by peers, and performance relative to size. In the 2006 international edition of Newsweek, Berkeley was the fifth-ranked global university.

The Princeton Review ranks Berkeley as college with a conscience and the 5th best value in public colleges.

According to a May 2008 Forbes magazine article, Berkeley ranks 9th among universities that have produced the largest number of living billionaires.


Berkeley is perennially the most selective of the institutions affiliated with the University of California, and one of the most selective universities in the United States. According to U.S. News & World Report, it is the most selective public university in the United States. For the 2007-08 academic year, approximately 4,387 freshmen (including U.S. and international students) matriculated from an applicant pool of 44,127. The average person admitted as a freshman in 2007 had a weighted GPA of 4.25/4.00, and an average score of 2029 out of 2400 (approximately 94th percentile) on the SAT admissions test. For the 2008-09 academic year, approximately 4,449 freshmen (including U.S. and international students) matriculated from an applicant pool of 45,436. The average person admitted as a freshman in 2008 had a weighted GPA of 4.35/4.00, and an average score of 2060 out of 2400 on the SAT admissions test.

Graduate admissions vary by department, although in 2006 the university's doctoral programs admitted 1,058 students from a pool of 14,263 applicants.

Library system

Berkeley’s 32 libraries together tie for fourth largest academic library in the United States surpassed only by the Library of Congress, Harvard, and 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.As of 2006, Berkeley’s library system contains over 10 million volumes and maintains over 70,000 serial titles. The libraries together cover over 12 acres of land and comprise one of the largest library complexes in the world. 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, with holdings of over 400,000 printed volumes, maintains a collection that documents the history of the western part of North America, with an emphasis on California, Mexico and Central America.

Contributions to computer science

Berkeley has nurtured a number of key technologies associated with the early development of the Internet and the Free software movement. The original Berkeley Software Distribution, commonly known as BSD Unix, was assembled in 1977 by Bill Joy, then a graduate student in the computer science department. Joy, who went on to co-found Sun Microsystems, also developed the original version of vi. Ingres and PostgreSQL emerged from faculty research begun in the late 1970s. Sendmail was developed at Berkeley in 1981. BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain package) was written by a team of graduate students around the same time period. The Tcl programming language and the Tk GUI toolkit were developed by faculty member John Ousterhout in 1988. SPICE and espresso, popular tools for IC Designers, were invented at Berkeley under the direction of Professor Donald Pederson. The RAID and RISC technologies were both developed at Berkeley under David Patterson.

Perhaps the most influential contributions to computing from UC Berkeley have been the algorithms and analysis of floating-point arithmetic, led by Professor William Kahan. They include extensive and ongoing contributions to the IEEE 754 standard.

The XCF, an undergraduate research group located in Soda Hall, has been responsible for a number of notable software projects, including GTK+, The GIMP, and the initial diagnosis of the Morris worm. In 1992 Pei-Yuan Wei, 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. ViolaWWW would also inspire researchers at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to create the Mosaic web browser.

SETI@home was one of the first widely disseminated distributed computing projects, allowing hobbyists and enthusiasts to participate in scientific research by donating unused computer processor cycles in the form of a screen saver.

In an interesting example of the confluence of disparate ideas, many of the arguments for the efficacy of Open Source software development, and of the Wikipedia project itself, find parallels in writings on urban planning and architecture published in the late 1970s by Christopher Alexander, a Berkeley professor of architecture. At the same time, John Searle, a Berkeley professor of philosophy, introduced a critique of artificial intelligence using the metaphor of a Chinese Room.

Berkeley has established partnerships with Google, Intel, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and Yahoo!. Intel Research Berkeley's small industrial lab near the main UC Berkeley campus brings together researchers from Intel and Berkeley to pursue open and collaborative research into realms including Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions, Delay Tolerant Networking, rural connectivity and networks as databases. Yahoo! Research Berkeley Labs focuses on mobile media technology and social media in a facility adjacent to the campus. Sun Microsystems, Google, and Microsoft are funding a $7.5 million dollar Reliable, Adaptive and Distributed Systems Laboratory to develop more reliable computing systems.

Distinguished Berkeley people

Nobel Prizes have been awarded to twenty past and present faculty, among the 62 Nobel laureates associated with the university.

See also:

Student life


Cal's sports teams compete in intercollegiate athletics as the California Golden Bears. They participate in the NCAA's Division I-A as a member of the Pacific Ten Conference. The official school colors, established in 1873 by a committee of students, are Yale Blue and California Gold. Yale Blue was chosen because many of the university's founders were Yale University graduates (for example Henry Durant, the first university president), while California Gold was selected to represent the Golden State of California. Cal has 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.

California-Stanford Rivalry

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.

"The Play"

One of the most famous moments in Big Game 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.


California finished in first place in the 2007-2008 Fall U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup standings (Formerly the Sears Cup), which measures the best overall collegiate athletic programs in the country, with points awarded for national finishes in NCAA sports. Cal finished with 370 points. California finished in ninth place in the 2006-07 U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup. With 1030.00 points, this is Cal's highest point value in school history. California finished in sixth place in the NACDA Director's Cup standings, with points awarded for national finishes in NCAA sports. With 865.5 points, Cal's seventh place finish is the highest in the school's history.

Cal National Championships

Sport Championships

Men's Basketball
  • (1) NCAA Championship
  • (1) NIT Championship

Men's Crew
  • (15) National Championships

Women's Crew
  • (3) National Championships

  • (3) National Championships

Men's Golf
  • (1) National Championship

Men's Gymnastics
  • (4) Team NCAA Championships
  • (21) Individual NCAA Champions

Men's Lacrosse
  • (1) USLIA MDIA National Championship

Men's Rugby
  • (23) National Championships

  • (1) NCAA championship

Men's Swimming
  • (2) Team NCAA Championships
  • (42) Individual NCAA Champions
  • (12) NCAA Relay Championships

Women's Swimming
  • (21) Individual NCAA Champions
  • (2) NCAA Relay Championships

Men's Tennis
  • (1) NCAA Championship
  • (2) NCAA Singles Champions
  • (9) NCAA Doubles Championships

Women's Tennis
  • (4) NCAA Doubles Championships
  • (1) NCAA Singles Champion

Men's Track & Field
  • (1) NCAA Team Championship
  • (30) Individual NCAA Champions

Women's Track & Field
  • (4) Individual NCAA Champions

Men's Water Polo
  • (13) NCAA Championships

Total Team Championships 71


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

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.

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. The Chairman of the Rally Committee holds the title "Custodian of the Axe" while it is in the Committee's care.

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". 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.

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.

Other traditions have included events which span only a period of a few years. William (or Willie) the Polka Dot Man was a performance artist who frequented Sproul Plaza during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Naked Guy (now deceased) and Larry the Drummer, who performed Batman tunes, appeared in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

A few current traditions include streaking during finals week in the Main Stacks, the Happy Happy Man, and Stoney Burke.

Student housing

UC Berkeley's student housing accommodates a variety of personal and academic preferences and styles. Presently, the university offers two years of guaranteed housing for entering freshmen, and one year for entering transfer students. The immediately surrounding community offers apartments, Greek (fraternity and sorority) housing, and student housing co-ops.

There are four residence hall complexes south of campus in the City of Berkeley: Units 1, 2, 3, and Clark Kerr. Units 1, 2 and 3 offer high-rise accommodations with common areas on every other floor. Dining commons and other central facilities are shared by the high-rises. Because of their communal design and location in the city, these residence halls tend to be the more social of the housing options. Units 1 and 2 also have many of the newest residence hall buildings, which are intended for continuing and transfer students. Just outside these complexes are the Channing-Bowditch and Ida Jackson apartments, also intended for older students. Farther away from campus is Clark Kerr, a residence hall complex that houses many student athletes and was once a school for the deaf and blind. This complex is considered the most spacious and luxurious accommodation south of campus.

In the foothills, east of the central campus, there are three additional residence hall complexes: 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-girls 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 because of their location next to the theatre, often get free glimpses of concerts. 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 all-men’s residence hall has large quad-occupancy rooms and has the appearance of a castle. This residence hall is like a fraternity, with many of its residents staying all four years. However, in 2005 the university decided to limit Bowles to freshmen because of complaints that it had become too raucous and was jeopardizing the learning environment. Bowles houses was once ranked as one of Playboy Magazine's top-10 college parties during Halloween, however the university within the past few years has cracked down on this activity. Currently, the residence is being courted by the Haas School of Business to become housing for scholars and business professionals who visit Berkeley. There is a great deal of opposition to this plan, and no final decisions have been made.

Family student housing consists of two main groups of housing: University Village and Smyth-Fernwald. University Village is located three miles (5 km) north-west of campus in Albany, California. The demolition of older buildings and their subsequent replacement with new, more expensive apartment units has prompted student protests. The Village Residents Association, a funding and advocacy group in University Village, filmed a video documentary regarding the lack of affordable student family housing in June, 2007. Smyth-Fernwald is scheduled for demolition in 2010.

Student groups

UC Berkeley has over 700 established 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. Political student groups on campus numbered 94 in 2006-2007 school year, including Berkeley MEChA, Berkeley ACLU, Berkeley Students for Life, Campus Greens, Cal Berkeley Democrats, and the Berkeley College Republicans. Berkeley sends the most students to the Peace Corps of any university in the nation.

The IDEAL Scholars Fund was established by four alumni to increase the number of underrepresented minorities at UC Berkeley. The Fund tries to counter the perceived effects of California Proposition 209, which ended Affirmative Action in California and in the University of California system. Some claimed there was a reduction in the numbers of Latino, African American and Native American students and rekindled their activism on campus concerning issues of race. However, supporters of Proposition 209 have noted that the number of Asian American students, a small minority group, has dramatically increased following its passage. Racial preferences remain a controversial topic, with some students supporting them while many others are opposed to what they see as reverse racism, especially against Asian American students.

The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) is the student government organization 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 Residence Hall Assembly (RHA) is the student-run hall government organization that oversees all aspects of residence wide event planning, legislation, sponsorships and activities for over 6000 residence on-campus undergraduate residence. Founded in 1988 by the President's Council, it is now funded and supported by the Residential and Student Service Programs department on campus.

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.

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

Berkeley Model United Nations is the oldest running high school Model United Nations conference in the nation holding an annual conference on campus with over 1500 high school students participating.

Berkeley's student-run television station, CalTV, was formed in 2005 and broadcasts online. It is run by students with a variety of backgrounds and majors.

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. DeCal arose out of the 1960s Free Speech movement and was officially established in 1981. The program offers some 150 courses on a vast range of subjects that appeal to the Berkeley student community, including classes on The Simpsons, Poker, South Park, Superman, Batman, The Iranian Revolution, conspiracy theories, political debate, meditation and DJing.

UC Berkeley's anime club, Cal Animage Alpha, founded in 1989 is one of the oldest in the west coast, and achieved distinction for having the most members of all clubs outside of Japan in its 1994 year with over 300 members.

Ethnic enrollment

Ethnicity, 2007 Under-
African American 3% 3%
Asian American and Pacific Islander 42% 18%
Hispanic or Chicano 12% 6%
Native American <1% 1%
White 31% 44%
International 3% 18%
The plurality of Asian American students at Berkeley vis a vis the population of California was featured in an New York Times article. Chinese Americans alone make up a staggering percentage of undergraduate students at UC Berkeley -- 25% of the entire undergraduate population consists of Chinese Americans (over 5,000 undergraduates are of Chinese descent). UC Berkeley students were active in organizing with UCLA Asian Pacific Coalition (APC) and UC administrators in "Count Me In" campaign to disaggregate the Asian Pacific Islander (API) label. The campaign was a statewide movement to make the UC application more inclusive of underrepresented communities and properly collect data of admissions. This resulted in breaking down the “Other Asian” category adding 10 ethnicities under Asian American to the UC application and separating Pacific Islanders into its own racial category with respective ethnic subcategories totaling 23 Asian American Pacific Islander ethnic categories that will make it more inclusive of underrepresented communities and properly collect data of admissions to UC. Statistics from the UC application, which will be effective in Fall 2008, will come in 2 years that will for the first time have data on specific ethnicities. This statewide endeavor also counters the model minority myth that Asian Americans are overrepresented on college campuses and the stereotypical image of Asian American students portrayed by the New York Times.

A Cappella

A Cappella music holds a strong tradition at Cal. The two most renowned small performance groups on campus are the UC Men's Octet and the California Golden Overtones. The UC Men's Octet is an eight-member a cappella group founded in 1948. They are the only multiple time champions of the ICCA, having won the championship in both 1998 and 2000. The Octet has entertained audiences around the world with its unique mesh of close harmonies and zany stage antics. Dazzling fans with wide repertoire of barbershop, doo-wop, contemporary pop, modern alternative, and of course, fight songs, the group has released dozens of recordings over the years. The eight men can be seen performing every Wednesday outside Sather Gate at 1 o'clock.

The California Golden Overtones, founded in 1993, are a female a cappella group. In 2001 the group placed second in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). The Overtones can be seen performing every Friday outside Sather Gate at 1 o'clock.

Both groups have performed for audiences all around the world, having toured all throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and China.

Fraternities and sororities


At the time of its founding, Berkeley was the first full-curriculum public university in the state of California and thus was known as the University of California. As occurred in other states with only a single major public university, University of California was frequently shortened to California or Cal, for ease of identification. Because the school's long sports tradition stretches back to an era before the founding of the other University of California branches, its athletic teams continue to be designated as California Golden Bears, Cal Bears, or simply, Cal.

As a reflection of the University of California's development into a multi-institutional university system, the term University of California is no longer applied to the campus outside of varsity sports; the official name is University of California, Berkeley. Informally, the campus is called UC Berkeley, Berkeley, or Cal, which are all official variations. The term University of California has come to refer to the entire University of California system. The campus office for trademarks disallows the use of Cal Berkeley, though it is occasionally used colloquially. Unlike most University of California campuses, which are commonly known by their initials, usage of UCB is discouraged (as is University of California at Berkeley), and the domain name is While and are also registered by the school, they are not actively used.

Berkeley is sometimes confused with Berklee College of Music, a private music school in Boston, Massachusetts, or Berkeley College, a private college with campuses in New York and New Jersey; it is not affiliated with either.

Relationship with the United States military

The military has been and continues to be an integral part of UC Berkeley's history since the university's birth. In fact, military training was compulsory at the university from 1870 to 1962.

The University of California came into being in 1868 as a merger between the College of California (a private institution incorporated in 1855 that was constrained by its limited finances) and the Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College (a public institution formed in 1866). The latter was created by the state legislature after it took advantage of the federal Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862, which offered states a grant of public land if they would establish a public college teaching agriculture, mechanical arts, and military tactics.

Thus the precursor to the army's Reserve Officer Training Corps was born. In exchange for California's share of 150,000 acres (600 km²), the first male undergraduates at the new University of California were required to serve two hours per week for four years being trained in tactics, dismounted drill, marksmanship, camp duty, military engineering, and fortifications. North Hall, which no longer exists, housed an armory.

The university president's report from 1902 states that "The University Cadets from last year numbered no less than 866. Appointments as second lieutenants in the regular army have been conferred upon several men who have distinguished themselves as officers in the University Cadets. It is very much to be hoped that the War Department will establish permanently the policy of offering such appointments to the graduates of each year who show the highest ability in military pursuits."

In 1904, the service requirement was dropped to two years, and in 1917, Cal's ROTC was established more or less as it exists today with ROTC programs for the four main branches of the military.

Commander Chester W. Nimitz established the Naval ROTC at Cal in the fall of 1926. Transferred in June 1929, Captain Nimitz left a unit of 150 midshipmen enrolled with a staff of six commissioned and six petty officers. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz never lost his admiration of Cal, and he retired in Berkeley. Many artifacts and documents from that time were lost when peace activists burned the NROTC's Callahan Hall to the ground one night in 1984. War correspondent Cork Graham was a midshipman here in 1983, just before he was held by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on charges of spying for the CIA the same year.

During World War II, the military increased its presence on campus to churn out recruits from the officer training corps. The army program took over Bowles Hall, a dormitory, and the naval program took over the International House and several fraternities for its trainees. By 1944, more than 1,000 navy personnel were studying at Cal, roughly one out of every four male Berkeley students.

With the end of the war and the subsequent rise of student activism, the California Board of Regents succumbed to pressure from the student government and ended compulsory military training at Berkeley in 1962.

Former secretary of defense Robert McNamara and former Army chief of staff Frederick C. Weyand are both graduates of Cal's ROTC program.


University of California, Berkeley, is a member of the Consortium of Academic Stewards for The Scholar Ship.

Films shot at the University of California, Berkeley

See also



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.
  • Rorabaugh, W. J. (1990). Berkeley at War: The 1960s. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506667-7.
  • Wong, Geoffrey (2001). A Golden State of Mind. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1-55212-635-8.

External links

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