Berkeley: Historical Overview
The Berkeley campus of the University of
California stretches from the center of the city eastward into a
range of steep hills and commands a magnificent view of San Francisco
and the Golden Gate. The overall area of the campus is 1,232 acres,
though the main campus, with its park-like atmosphere and many academic
buildings, is on the lower 178 acres. Overlooking the main campus
are several research units, most notably the Lawrence Radiation
Laboratory. Much of the rugged upper hill area is still undeveloped.
This campus, the oldest and largest of the University,
began operations in 1869 in the buildings formerly owned by the
College of California in Oakland. Classes began at Berkeley in 1873
upon completion of North and South Halls (North Hall is no longer
extant). When the doors opened, 167 men and 222 women students enrolled.
From that beginning has evolved one of
the world's major centers of learning and research. At the beginning
of the 2001-2002 academic year, 32,128 students were registered.
They came from throughout the state and from every state in the
nation. Included were 6,783 foreign students representing over 120
The campus was under the direct supervision of
the President and other University-wide officers until 1952. After
that time, direction of the campus became the responsibility of
its chancellor. The chancellors at Berkeley have been Clark Kerr,
later President of the University; Glenn T. Seaborg, later chairman
of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission; Edward W. Strong; Martin Meyerson,
acting chancellor during the spring semester of 1965; Roger W. Heyns;
Albert H. Bowker; Ira Michael Heyman; Chang-Lin Tien; and Robert
M. Berdahl, the current chancellor.
The faculty is one of the most distinguished
in America. A total of eighteen Nobel laureates have been associated
with the Berkeley campus, and the faculty currently includes eight
Nobel Prize winners: George A. Akerlof (Economics), Daniel L. McFadden
(Economics), Yuan T. Lee (Chemistry), Gerard Debreu (Economics),
Czeslaw Milosz (Literature), Charles H. Townes (Physics), Donald
A. Glaser (Physics), and Owen Chamberlain (Physics). The faculty
includes 113 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 19 MacArthur
Fellows, 77 Fulbright Scholars, and three Pulitzer Prize winners.
There are 14 colleges and schools, and over 130
academic departments offering nearly 300 degree programs. Berkeley
also has 42 organized research units contributing new knowledge
in most of these areas. The University Library contains more than
nine million volumes, making it the fourth largest library in North
America and one of the best in the breadth and depth of its collections.
It was on this campus in 1930 that the late Ernest
O. Lawrence, then professor of physics and the University's first
Nobel Prize recipient, invented the cyclotron, first of a succession
of "atom-smashers." Since then, the laboratory that bears his name
has maintained world leadership in fundamental nuclear physics research,
while huge and complex instruments and associated buildings have
blossomed on its hilltop site. Discoveries there have included hundreds
of new isotopes, many with importance in biological, medical, and
physical research; the man-made trans-uranium elements; and the
anti-proton, anti-neutron, and other atomic particles, as well as
the early work which played a key part in opening the atomic age.
Many other individuals and groups at Berkeley
have distinguished themselves in research in various fields. Among
these achievements were the first isolation of a virus, including
the one causing human polio; discovery of a number of pituitary
hormones, among them the human growth hormone and ACTH; the first
"taking apart" and reconstruction of a virus, with the accompanying
discovery that nucleic acid carries the viral infectious properties;
and the first demonstration of permanent chemical changes in the
brain as a result of learning.
Professional schools have made important contributions
in legal research, optometry, criminology, and engineering, the
latter field including such work as testing materials for structures
such as the San Francisco-Oakland Bay and Golden Gate Bridges, Shasta
Dam, and others.
In the social sciences and humanities, unique
research was accomplished with languages. The world's first Mongolian-English
and Thai-English dictionaries were compiled on the Berkeley campus.
California Indian languages were reconstructed following recorded
interviews with surviving Indians. Important work has also been
done with translation of languages by computers.
Important Research Centers
Case studies begun by the Institute
of Human Development more than 60 years ago, relating to physical
development, behavior, and aging of the subjects, as well as the
physiological, psychological, and interpersonal consequences of
changes in the social environment, continued for decades. The
Institute of Personality and Social Research (formerly Institute
of Personality Assessment and Research) is devoted to the study
of adult human behavior and personality, and on the social context
in which individual differences are expressed. Studies conducted
by the Institute of Social Sciences, Institute of Industrial Relations,
Institute of Governmental Studies, Institute of Business and Economic
Research, and Institute of International Studies have led to a better
understanding of humans and their complex relationships to society
and their environment. The Berkeley campus has also been the base
for considerable overseas research, especially in economics and
political science. In addition to pioneering research and creative
scholarship, faculty members have won acclaim for accomplishments
in art, architecture, music, drama, and literature.
The campus has had several plans to guide
its physical development over its many years of existence. After
two such plans, an international competition was underwritten by
Mrs. Phoebe Apperson Hearst. It was won by Paris architect, Emile
Bénard, who devised a monumental scheme reflecting the grand, formal
scale and architectural classicism of the Beaux Arts School. This
was adopted by the Regents in 1900.
John Galen Howard was chosen supervising architect
to modify the Bénard plan to fit the precise needs of the campus.
From 1903 to 1924, Howard designed 20 buildings that survived as
the core of the campus. Among these are the Doe Library, California
Hall, Durant Hall, and Wheeler Hall in the center of the campus,
plus the Hearst Memorial Mining Building, Agriculture Hall, Gilman
Hall, Hilgard Hall, Stephens Hall, Haviland Hall, Hesse Hall, and
The campus' two best-known landmarks, Sather Tower
(popularly known as the Campanile) and Sather Gate, were designed
by Howard. Modeled after the famous tower of Venice, the Campanile
is 307 feet tall and visible over much of the Bay Area. It contains
chimes on which regular concerts are played, an observation platform,
and four large clock faces. Both monuments were gifts of Mrs. Jane
The architect also designed the Greek Theatre,
built in 1903, with a seating capacity of 7,200, and the California
Memorial Stadium, built in 1923, with a capacity of 76,780.
Since Howard's era, some of the most notable buildings
to be constructed at Berkeley have been the Hearst Gymnasium for
Women, designed by Maybeck and Julia Morgan; International House;
the Life Sciences Building, constructed in 1930 and later reconstructed;
Sproul Hall; Dwinelle Hall; Hertz Hall; University Hall; Student
Union complex; Tolman Hall; Latimer Hall; Etcheverry Hall; Wurster
Hall; Barrows Hall; and the Physical Sciences Lecture Hall.
Subsequent major building projects have included
the Space Sciences Laboratory, the
Lawrence Hall of Science, the University Art Museum, the Haas School
of Business, Moffitt undergraduate library, and the Main Stacks
of Doe Library.
Campus Planning and Layout
One feature of the physical planning for
the campus is the grouping of related teaching departments and research
units in clusters of buildings, mainly for the convenience of academic
personnel. Thus, at the center of the campus are the libraries,
humanities, and the social sciences. From the Telegraph Avenue entrance
down to Oxford Street are administration and student activities,
including athletics. Following clockwise around the campus map are
agriculture and the life sciences, engineering and earth sciences,
mathematical and physical sciences, and design, music, and the arts.
University policy in 1968 specified that eventually
25 per cent of the students would live in University-owned and -operated
facilities. Prior to the mid-1950s, these consisted of Bowles Hall,
a men's residence; Stern Hall for women; and four Smyth-Fernwald
Halls on a hill just southeast of the main campus. These could accommodate
only a fraction of the determined percentage. During the following
eight years, three blocks of high-rise dormitories, with four dormitories
per block, were constructed just south of the campus. By 1968, total
dormitory space could accommodate 3,333 students and more dormitories
were planned. In addition, the University maintained a married student
apartment complex in Albany which had 920 apartments.
Adjacent to the apartments was land which contained
an agricultural research complex. Together, both of these areas
comprised the Gill Tract, one of five outlying properties acquired
by the campus. Others were the Richmond Field Station for engineering
and forest products laboratories; the Richmond Services Center,
a former Ford Motor Company plant used for research laboratories,
supplementary library facilities, and a supply center; the Blake
Estate, a residential property specified by the donor for use of
its highly developed garden plantings by the Department of Landscape
Architecture; and the Russell Tree Farm, a tract near Lafayette
to be used for ecology studies and a small astronomical observatory.
Several research stations have been maintained
by the Berkeley campus in remote locations in northern California.
These have included the Bodega Marine Laboratory for biological
research, near Bodega Bay; Hastings Natural History Reservation,
a preserve for study of wildlife and plants in the upper Carmel
Valley; Hat Creek Radio Astronomy Observatory, north of Lassen National
Park; Meadow Valley Summer Camp for forestry students in Plumas
County; Sagehen Creek Wildlife and Fisheries Station, north of Truckee;
and the White Mountain Research Station
for high altitude research, near Bishop.