Chang-Lin Tien addresses the crowd on Charter Day.

Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien: An unabashed cheerleader for Cal

In a Twitter thread sharing memories of Chang-Lin Tien, Berkeley’s chancellor from 1990-97, one person recalled him passing out cookies in the library and exhorting, “Study hard! Go, Bears!” Another remembers students mobbing him as he walked across campus — “like something out of A Hard Day’s Night” — and Tien always made time to shake hands or give hugs. A third posted a photo of him wearing a ridiculously large cowboy hat the Cal Band’s trombonists had given him at the 1993 Alamo Bowl. As diehard Cal fans go, Tien was all in. Read and share more memories of Tien on Twitter.

Tien was the first Asian American to head a major research university in the United States. In the early 1990s, state funding to the university dropped 18 percent and nearly 30 percent of faculty took advantage of incentives to retire. Vowing to maintain Berkeley’s excellence, Tien was personally involved in recruiting and retaining top faculty. He also led what was then the largest fundraising campaign for a public university.

Tien was a talented, favored teacher and an internationally renowned scholar and changemaker in thermal sciences. Often called upon for technical advice, he helped solve problems with the Space Shuttle’s insulating tiles and with the nuclear reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island in the late 1970s. He also helped found a nonpartisan group dedicated to improving relations between the United States and China. 

Shaped by his experiences as an immigrant, Tien fought tirelessly for justice and equal opportunity. In a 1996 New York Times essay defending the use of affirmative action in university admissions, he wrote, “It would be a tragedy if our nation’s colleges and universities slipped backward now, denying access to talented but disadvantaged youth and eroding the diversity that helps to prepare leaders.”

Share your memory of Chancellor Tien on Twitter and tag it #Berkeley150.

Explore Other Stories

Chang-Lin Tien addresses the crowd on Charter Day.

Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien: An unabashed cheerleader for Cal

In a Twitter thread sharing memories of Chang-Lin Tien, Berkeley’s chancellor from 1990-97, one person recalled him passing out cookies in the library and exhorting, “Study hard! Go, Bears!” Another remembers students mobbing him as he walked across campus — “like something out of A Hard Day’s Night” — and Tien always made time to shake hands or give hugs.

Japanese Americans receiving honorary degrees from Berkeley

Commencement: A special day Cal students deserve

After years of hard work and personal growth, graduating from college can bring a mix of emotions, from pride and nostalgia to fear and excitement about what lies ahead. It also brings a special day when, at Berkeley, some 5,000 graduates and over 40,000 guests gather for a formal procession, speeches, performances, and more to mark this momentous occasion. 

Barry C. Barish '57, Ph.D. '63

Alumnus of the Year proves Einstein was right

Barry C. Barish ’57, Ph.D. ’63 says watching ocean waves marked the start of his work on detecting gravitational waves a century after Einstein’s prediction. His research would win him the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, which he shares, as well as Berkeley’s 2018 Alumnus of the Year.

Strawberry Creek, UC Berkeley campus

Around the Bend, Strawberry Creek

A poem written and performed by José L. Rodríguez Nodal, a long-time staff member with deep family ties to UC Berkeley, for the university’s 150th birthday on March 23, 2018

The Big C on Charter Hill

Give me a (concrete) C!

On our rugged eastern foothills,
Stands our symbol clear and bold, 
Big C means to fight and strive
And win for blue and gold.

— Excerpt from the song “Big C,” written in 1913 by Harold P. Williams and N. Loyall McLaren

Lillian Gilbreth

Lillian Gilbreth: A master of human behavior and engineering

By today’s standards, Lillian Gilbreth 1900, M.A. 1902 was a superwoman. She studied literature at Berkeley in anticipation of becoming a teacher — and was the first woman to speak at a commencement ceremony — but her path took a dramatic turn. In 1915, she earned a Ph.D.