Stories

What lives inside the Campanile? Who was Phoebe Apperson Hearst? How many Olympic medals have Cal Bears amassed over time? What is Cas9? Explore historic milestones, traditions, major discoveries, influential people who helped shaped our university, and more below. Come back as we add more stories throughout the year. 

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Trustees from the College of California at Founders Rock, 1860

Charter Day: A university is born

The University of California began on March 23, 1868, when Gov. Henry Haight signed an act catalyzing the audacious idea that California should have a great public university — one that would serve equally the children of immigrants and settlers, landowners and industrial barons.

Cal's emblem and colors

Cal’s blue, gold, and bear

The university colors of blue and gold were chosen in 1873 by a committee of representatives from each class. Blue was considered because it reflected the sky, student cadet uniforms, and Yale, from which many of the university’s founders and early administrators had graduated.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain finds a home at Berkeley

If Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, had lived today, his nonstop outpouring of observations on American life might fit neatly on a medium-size hard drive.

David Blackwell

David Blackwell: A trailblazing statistician

“He had this great talent for making things appear simple. … That is the ultimate best thing in mathematics, if you have an insight that something seemingly complicated is really simple, but simple after the fact.”

Photo of Jennifer Doudna

Life-changing discoveries happen here

Recruited from Yale University, structural biologist and biochemist Jennifer Doudna was attracted to Berkeley’s pioneering spirit and access to advanced research technology. The university seemed like a place where basic science could lead to big discoveries.  

Photo of Daily Cal

The Daily Cal: A monumental record of Berkeley’s past

September 4, 1900 — Juniors elect class officers; no contest for presidents

October 1, 1964 — Williams refuses demands; 700 sleep in Sproul Hall

September 12, 2017 — UC to receive $1M from state to support undocumented students