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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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.  

Phoebe Hearst Plan University of California, John Galen Howard Collection, Environmental Design Archives, UC Berkeley

John Galen Howard: The artistry behind our beautiful campus

Doe Library. The Hearst Memorial Mining Building. The Hearst Greek Theatre. Benjamin Ide Wheeler Hall. The Campanile.

These are just a few stately campus landmarks built in the early 1900s under the leadership of John Galen Howard, an architect who, more than any other individual, shaped the face of the UC Berkeley campus. 

Illustration of Nobel

25 Nobel Prizes over time

Berkeley faculty have won 25 Nobel Prizes over time in physics, chemistry, economics, literature, and physiology.

UC Berkeley students

The impact of scholarship support

In 1897, Levi Strauss, co-inventor of the blue jean, endowed the first scholarships at Cal — 28 in all. Building on that legacy, scholarship support from private donors today enables Berkeley to fulfill its public mission and accept students based on their ability to achieve — not on their capacity to pay.

In 2015–16: