Light the Way: The Campaign for Berkeley

Update from Carol T. Christ, Chancellor and Chair, National Campaign Steering Committee

July 25, 2022

More than 63,000 donors contributed more than $1 billion in gifts and pledges to support the Light the Way campaign — making FY22 a record-breaking year in fundraising. While the numbers are impressive, I am particularly struck by the audacity of this campaign’s goals and by the range of projects that have been advanced and sustained.

From Helen Diller Anchor House, a new home for transfer students made possible by our single largest gift ever, to the piccolos, basses, drums, and cymbals provided by an ongoing effort to refresh the Cal Band’s stock of instruments, this campaign touches everything that makes Berkeley unique. 

Photo of Chancellor Christ applauding with students at a sports game

Fiat Lux, and Go Bears!

Plans to change the look and feel of the campus in extraordinary ways have also come to fruition. The Engineering Student Center, launched by a $30 million challenge match from an anonymous donor, will transform the existing Bechtel Engineering Center into a vibrant hub of learning, collaboration, and innovation. The population of engineering students has grown by more than 80 percent since the original center was built more than 40 years ago.

The Dr. Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Family Foundation’s extraordinary $50 million gift — the largest to any optometry school in the country — will provide students interested in vision science and optometry with vital new opportunities. The seed of a 10-year, $100 million investment, this gift lays the groundwork for a new era of research and patient care and helps position optometry as a critical profession in the sphere of public health.

We have raised over $400 million for undergraduate scholarships, including support provided through the African American Initiative (AAI) to help draw African American students to Berkeley. The first cohort of AAI scholars graduated this spring. And, just last week on July 19, the Haas School of Business announced that its top-ranked two-year undergraduate business program will expand to become a four-year program, supported by the largest single gift in the school’s history. In recognition of the $30 million gift from Haas alumnus Warren “Ned” Spieker ’66, and his wife, Carol ’66, UC Berkeley will name the program the Spieker Undergraduate Business Program. 

There is so much to celebrate and to look forward to as we move ever closer toward reaching our $6 billion campaign goal. In the coming year, I would particularly like to see additional support for graduate fellowships and for efforts such as the Discovery Initiative — which aims to ensure that all undergraduates experience Berkeley as a meaningful, life-changing journey. That journey may be as big and bold as changing the frontiers of science, or as sweet and particular as exploring the sound of a new piccolo.

We launched our last campaign just before the economy crashed in 2008, and the current one just in time for the pandemic to change the world forever. And yet, our community has rallied again and again, turning crisis into opportunity. Now I call that audacious. Thank you for being a part of our community.

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