Dean's Desk


Renewing our Infrastructure


“My two highest priorities during my five-year term as dean have been to renew our infrastructure and to make substantial progress toward building our endowment.”


Dean's Desk

News from Chemical Engineering

News from Chemistry

Alumni Relations

Alumni Association News

Class Notes

Alumnus Profile: T. Z. Chu

Introducing the CHEMillenniums!

Faculty Highlights

Tan Hall: Five Years of Research, told by the professors

Faculty Profile: Jud King

College and Campus News

Endowed Chairs and Distinguished Professorships: the stories behind the six new endowments

University Updates

Society Pages


There is always a buzz of excitement in August when a new academic year begins. The Bay Area is emerging from our typically foggy summer into the warm and clear months of September and October. Thousands of undergraduate students converge on the campus from all over California, and a new class of entering doctoral candidates augments our year-round graduate cohort.

Structural Improvements
This fall our undergraduates and new graduate students are arriving on campus to a College of Chemistry complex that looks much changed from its appearance of the last two years. The FEMA seismic projects in Hildebrand and Latimer Halls are complete and the construction fences are almost all gone. Latimer Hall is now sheathed in a strong new shell of reinforced concrete. The Hildebrand Hall seismic shear walls aremostly hidden from view as they are along wall lines that previously existed. There are some large metal seismic braces on the plaza level outside the north and
south windows of the Chemistry Library and inside the building on the second and third floors. You can see before and after photos of Latimer and Hildebrand Halls here.

In addition to the seismic strengthening work that was completed since my last Dean’s Desk column, we have also completed several major laboratory renovation projects. The most extensive of these was a $4 million renovation of the entire second and third floors of Hildebrand to make it suitable as surge laboratory space for the eight structural biology groups who are being displaced from Stanley Hall in order to make way for a new integrated health science building. The eight groups being relocated to upper Hildebrand include professors Jack Kirsch, Jamie Cate, and Jennifer Doudna, all of whom have joint appointments in chemistry and MCB.

We have also completed significant renovations of laboratory and office space for Steve Leone, Haw Yang, and Dean Toste, the three new faculty members who joined the chemistry department in July of 2002. The most ambitious of these renovations was 1600 square feet of office and laboratory space for Toste on the sixth floor of Latimer. This significant laboratory upgrade was made possible largely through funds donated to the Center for New Directions in Organic Synthesis (CNDOS) by Bristol-Myers Squibb, a sponsoring member of this center. You can read more about CNDOS at their website.

With the completion of the Toste renovation, we took another step toward our goal of complete renovation of all of the synthetic chemistry space in Latimer Hall. These essential laboratory upgrades have occurred with the financial help of a large consortium, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, University of California general funds, corporate and individual donations, and a very significant contribution from an anonymous donor.

My two highest priorities during my five-year term as dean have been to renew our infrastructure and to make substantial progress toward building our endowment. In the previous paragraphs, I have reviewed some of the recent accomplishments on the infrastructure front. In all, during the last three years, we have been able to renovate a total of 103,000 square feet of laboratory and office space. To put this in perspective, this is 42 percent of the total space available for renovation (excluding Tan Hall, which was built five years ago, and a number of laboratories that were fully renovated in the 1990s.) In the next two years, we are looking forward to several more significant renovations, and I will report on these in due course.

New College Center
One improvement that I hope to be able to accomplish is the creation of a new “College of Chemistry Center,” a major upgrade to the outdoor plaza area that surrounds Hildebrand Hall, the sunken outdoor area on the B-level of Hildebrand and Latimer, and the Hildebrand breezeway. Preliminary plans have been drafted and may be viewed at the following college web address:

This is a significant project that will enhance the community spirit of the college. I will be seeking private funding for this project over the next year. This is an excellent opportunity for one of our alumni to contribute to the college in a meaningful way; it is our intention to name the new center after a major donor (that is, comparable to our very popular Bixby Commons).

Increasing our endowment
We are also making excellent progress in building our endowment. Elsewhere in this issue, you will read about the creation of a number of new Endowed Chairs and Distinguished Professorships. With the most recent additions, we will soon have a total of eleven endowed chairs or distinguished professorships. Of course, with a faculty as distinguished as ours, our task in this regard is far from complete— we still need at least fifteen more endowed chairs if we are to continue to be competitive with our peer institutions in recruitment and retention of faculty.

Introducing the CHEMillenniums
One of the most pleasant parts of my job as dean is hosting our various annual alumni “era groups.” As you probably know, we have three very active alumni groups, “Alumni of the G. N. Lewis Era” (pre-1944), “Alumni of the Cupola Era” (1945–1963), and “Free Radicals” (1964–1979). Each of these groups meets annually for a brunch or luncheon on campus. These convocations are sociable and informative for the alumni and a way for me and our faculty to renew acquaintances with our students and coworkers from prior years. These three groups will soon grow to four—a new group, the CHEMilleniums, representing the period 1980–1999, is in its nascent stages. The CHEMillenium alumni group will be announcing its first event soon, and I hope to see many of you there.

Finally, although it has nothing whatsoever to do with chemistry or chemical engineering, our Saturday afternoons have become a little more interesting this year as we have watched the Cal Bear footballers move out to a 5–3 record, including decisive victories over Michigan State and Washington. Go Bears!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Related sites:

College of Chemistry proposed center

CNDOS website

Endowed Chairs and Distinguished Professorships

The College of Chemistry is proud to announce that six new endowed chairs and distinguished professorships have been established or are pending approval, to make a current total of eleven in the college. More information about the funding and establishment of these honorary position can be found here. The administrative and research chairs at the College of Chemistry are:

The G. N. Lewis Chair (to be occupied by the Dean of the College of Chemistry)

The Katherine and Warren Schlinger Distinguished Professorship (occupied by the Chair of the chemical engineering department)

The Joel Hildebrand Distinguished Professorship (to be occupied by the Chair of the chemistry department)

The Kenneth S. Pitzer Distinguished Professorship in Theoretical Chemistry

The Glenn T. Seaborg Chair in Chemistry

The Melvin Calvin Distinguished Professorship in Chemical Biology

The Henry Rapoport Chair in Organic Chemistry

The Aldo DeBenedictis Distinguished Professorship in Chemistry

The Gerald E. K. Branch Distinguished Professorship in Chemistry

The Hubbard Howe, Jr. Distinguished Professorship in Biochemical Engineering

The ChevronTexaco Chair in Chemistry (to be occupied by a non-tenured faculty member nominated by the chemistry department)


College of Chemistry UC Berkeley