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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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.
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.
“America has brought the nation and the world to an awe-inspiring threshold of the future … And yet we have not learned the simple art of walking the earth as brothers and sisters.”
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.
“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.”
The Golden Bears softball team, one of the winningest programs in the nation, won the NCAA title in 2002. The team was led by coach Diane Ninemire, who is now entering her 29th year at the helm of the perennially powerful squad.
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.