UC Berkeley Names New Chancellor

    UC Berkeley has named Nicholas B. Dirks to succeed Robert J. Birgeneau as chancellor. Dirks, the acting dean of arts and sciences at Columbia University, will take over for the outgoing Birgeneau, who will end his eight-year tenure as Berkeley’s chancellor in May.

    Dirks, who has worked at Columbia since 1997, will begin his tenure as chancellor of the oldest UC campus on June 1. Birgeneau had originally planned to retire this December, but agreed to stay until the end of May to allow Dirks to finish the academic year at Columbia.

    In a statement issued on Nov. 8, UC President Mark G. Yudof wrote that Dirks would bring years of experience and expertise to Berkeley.

    “Nicholas Dirks is a highly accomplished leader with the sensibilities and knowledge of a humanist, as well as extensive fundraising, academic and administrative expertise,” Yudof wrote. “His global perspective, leadership of diversity efforts at Columbia and experience with both public and private universities will serve him and the campus well.”

    Dirks has served as the executive vice president for Arts and Sciences at Columbia since 2004, during which time he oversaw the financial, long-term and educational planning for 29 different academic departments. Dirks is also a scholar of Indian studies and was the chair of Columbia’s anthropology department beginning in 1997.

    During his eight years as chancellor, Birgeneau worked to preserve Berkeley’s reputation as one of the world’s most prestigious universities. He also boosted research funding from $500 million to over $700 million and has raised $2.4 billion through fundraising since 2008.

    Birgeneau will leave Berkeley knowing that it has secure financial footing. Last Monday Nov. 5, he announced that the campus had completed the Hewlett Challenge two years ahead of schedule. The challenge matched alumni and other donations dollar for dollar up to $110 million and brought in a total of $220 million to the university.

    Additional reporting by Zev Hurwitz.

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