FanPost

DBD 7.6.2010 Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien


Tien_portrait_medium



Chancellor Tien was the 8th Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, and served as Chancellor from 1990 through 1997.

I think more than any other post-FSM Chancellor, Chancellor Tien was the embodiment of the campus spirit. He not only fought vigoriously to protect the academic strength of the University, while being the first Chancellor since the FSM to support the idea of top flight athletics co-existing harmoniously with Cal's reputation as one of the top universities in the world.

 

I first met Chancellor Tien at the Chancellor's reception my freshman year in the Fall of 1992. He was actually talking to about 30 freshmen about his time at Louisville - he said the reason he earned his BS, MS and then PhD in such fast time (Louisville, then Princeton) is because he was so poor as an international student, he only had one bowl of plain rice to eat a day, and he wanted to get into the work force so that he could afford to eat!

 

Chang-lin-memorial_medium

via berkeley.edu

Once Tien got to Cal, he didn't waste any time. Starting as an associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering in 1959 at the age of 23, three years later he became the youngest professor in Cal history to win the Distinguished Teaching Award. From there he moved on to becoming a full professor, Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department, Vice Chancellor of Research - two years at UC Irvine as executive Vice Chancellor, before returning to Cal as Chancellor in 1990.

While he was a unversity administrator for much of his career, at his heart he remained a professor and a mechanical engineer. He continued to teach classes while he was the Cal Chancellor, while his expertise on heat transfer technology was significant in solving some of the Space Shuttle cereamic tile issues.

During his time as Chancellor, Cal was undergoing a lot of changes - the two biggest the regents of the University of California banning affirmative action and the other being an 18% budget cut. In order to preserve Cal's diversity - Tien began the ambitious program "The Berkeley Pledge" aimed at pushing students from economically disadvantaged areas towards a college (and Cal) education, while to combat the budget cuts and retain the young professors who would usher Cal into the next century, he began a program called "The Promise of Berkeley — Campaign for the New Century" which raised a then-unheard of 1.44 billion dollars for the University (including my $100/year!) But more than that, the man loved Cal. I'm not alone in having seen him pick up trash while walking around campus. I'm not the only student to have eaten his fresh baked cookies while he walked around Moffitt during Finals with a big box, exhorting us "STUDENTS! STUDY HARD! GO BEARS!" As a big basketball fan (he used to claim that if he had grown taller than his 5'4", he would've gone on to play professionally in Taiwan), he would occasionally get into the layup line with the Cal team. In fact, if you watch the end of the Cal-Duke game, while Coach K is walking off the court, Chancellor Tien comes over to shake his hand, and Coach K is VERY confused as to why this random Chinese guy with a Cal hat is on the court. Stories like him changing his flight returning from a University Presidents and Chancellors Conference to catch Cal vs. Kansas football. Him leading the 1-2-3 Go Bears! cheers at rallies, on the sidelines, the man's spirit was infectious. Rez-tien_medium

via www.cs.cmu.edu

 Unfortunately for Cal and the world at large, Chancellor Tien was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2000, three years after he retired as Cal's chancellor. He passed away at the age of 67 in 2002.

If anyone could truely truely be a Golden Bear, Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien was that guy. Go Bears!

The opinions expressed in a FanPost are, in every way, reflective of the opinions of every California Golden Blogs Marshawnthusiast. Moreover, they are reflective of every employee of SBNation, including Tyler "Blez" Bleszinski.

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