University of California, Berkeley, Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau has issued the following statement about the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, who was a UC Berkeley alumnus.
“Today, the University of California, Berkeley, mourns the loss of alumnus J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, who perished in yesterday’s shameful attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. After studying history at UC Berkeley, Chris, like so many of our graduates, joined the Peace Corps, which took him to Morocco in the early 1980s. This experience sparked in him an abiding interest in and passion for the Middle East, leading eventually to his successful career in the foreign service and postings in several Middle Eastern countries. He played a key role in supporting the Libyan revolution and was a champion for the country’s emerging democracy. His life epitomized the best of UC Berkeley’s graduates, a commitment to excellence at the highest level and a passion for making the world a better and more peaceful place. On behalf of our campus community, we extend our sincere condolences to his family, colleagues and friends. His father, Jan S. Stevens, earned his undergraduate degree in political science here in 1955 and his law degree in 1958, and his mother, Mary J. Floris Commanday, obtained her B.A. in English in 1958. His stepfather, Robert P. Commanday, also is a UC Berkeley alumnus who graduated with an M.A. in music in 1952. They are in our thoughts and prayers, as are those who also lost their lives in service to our nation in this terrible assault on our consulate.”
NOTE: This memo was updated on 9/19/12 to include more information about Stevens’ family members.