Commencement speaker challenges students to give back to Cal, one text at a time

Inspired by the success of fundraising by mobile phone – which raised millions following earthquakes in Haiti and Japan – Paul Jacobs, a UC Berkeley alumnus who is chairman and CEO of Qualcomm Inc., announced in his keynote remarks at Commencement 2011 that he and his wife Stacy, also an alumna, are matching all contributions to the Senior Class Gift, dollar for dollar.

Paul Jacobs

Paul Jacobs speaks at Commencement

The cornerstone of that push is text messaging. When seniors and their families and friends text 20222 with the message GOBEARS, they will contribute $10 to UC Berkeley. This amount will be reflected in their monthly phone bill as well as matched, up to $1 million, by the Jacobses. Donors can send the GOBEARS message up to three times.

“$1 million takes a lot of $10 donations,” Jacobs said in his remarks. “So you are going to have to get your friends and families involved, and other grads and alumni you know, too, if we are going to get anywhere close to that amount.  Anyone can donate to Cal, so spread the word.”

Between them, Paul and Stacy Jacobs collectively have earned three bachelor’s degrees, two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. at UC Berkeley — and they think it’s important for the newest generation of alumni to adopt the practice of giving back to Cal.  Paul Jacobs wasn’t just talking the talk, and he made it clear that neither should graduates.

In addition to the text fundraising challenge, the first ever undertaken on behalf of UC Berkeley, Jacobs also unveiled at commencement a new Oski augmented reality application for Android phones. The app allows users to see a dancing Oski, hear the Cal Marching Band, and share a photo, in which you can appear with Oski, via Facebook.

More information on the text challenge can be found at http://seniors.berkeley.edu.