Former UC Berkeley registrar and director of admissions Robert Bailey offers an expert look at the public research university’s more than 150-year history.
A public research university in Berkeley, California, UC Berkeley was founded more than 150 years ago and remains the flagship and oldest campus of the University of California. A former UC Berkeley registrar and director of admissions, Robert Bailey takes a brief look back on the incredible history of the university, which today instructs tens of thousands of students in hundreds of undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
“Founded more than 150 years ago, in 1868, UC Berkeley is the flagship and the oldest of the ten campuses of the University of California,” explains Robert Bailey. UC Berkeley has now grown, he goes on to tell, to today instruct more than 40,000 students in over 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across a variety of disciplines.
UC Berkeley’s history can be traced back to the establishment of the private College of California in early 1868. “Almost immediately merging with the state-run Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College to form the University of California, UC Berkeley’s charter was signed on March 23, 1868, by California Governor Henry H. Haight,” Bailey reveals. “UC Berkeley officially opened in September 1869, based temporarily in nearby Oakland, while the university’s all-new campus in Berkeley underwent construction,” he adds.
The new campus’ construction, Robert Bailey goes on to point out, reached its first milestone in 1873, with the completion of its so-called North and South Halls. “It was then,” adds the former UC Berkeley registrar, “that the university’s first 189 students moved to the site we know today.”
As of last year, Berkeley alumni, researchers, and faculty members now include a total of 107 Nobel laureates, 25 Turing Award winners, and 14 Fields Medalists. “Berkeley alumni, researchers, and faculty members have also won 45 MacArthur Fellowships, 20 Academy Awards, 19 Wolf Prizes, and 19 Pulitzer Prizes,” adds former UC Berkeley registrar Robert Bailey.
Since 1930, UC Berkeley researchers have discovered or co-discovered more than 15 chemical elements of the periodic table. “Discovering or co-discovering 16 chemical elements of the periodic table, UC Berkeley researchers have discovered more than any other university on the planet,” Bailey reveals.
Elsewhere, and in more recent years, UC Berkeley has become known as one of the leading U.S. universities in producing internationally renowned entrepreneurs, according to Bailey, and UC Berkeley alumni have gone on to found many world-famous companies globally.
“UC Berkeley’s motto, taken from the third verse of the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament,” he adds, wrapping up, “is ‘Fiat lux,’ or ‘Let there be light.'”