Martin Luther King Jr.

King calls Cal students “the conscience of our nation”

“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.”

So said Martin Luther King Jr. on May 17, 1967, as the Vietnam War raged and our campus seethed. He spoke on the steps of Sproul Hall before a rapt crowd of more than 7,000 people. The minister and civil rights leader told students, ”You, in a real sense, have been the conscience of the academic community and our nation.”

Berkeley’s student union was renamed after King in 1985, after petitioning by the late Ronnie Stevenson, an early Black Panther Party member, Berkeley alum, and staff member. A historic photograph of King taken by the late Helen Nestor hangs in the building.   

“It was a warm and special feeling to photograph him,” said Nestor, who was allowed to photograph King at close range because of her disability. “The students were very charged up and very much with Dr. King.”

Listen to King's 1967 speech at UC Berkeley.

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Japanese Americans receiving honorary degrees from Berkeley

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

Alumnus of the Year proves Einstein was right

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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.

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.