UC Berkeley students upon graduation often say they want to change the world. A new campus website, the Berkeley Wall of Fame, is celebrating alumni who have done just that.
Designed as a blog so that it can continuously grow, the site showcases UC Berkeley alumni with a range of individual talents, as well as pairings of people who are connected in offbeat ways. Visitors can nominate additional alumni for inclusion on the wall.
“It is impossible for us to know about all 464,000 Berkeley alumni and their achievements,” said David Blinder, associate vice chancellor of University Relations. “This out-of-the-box approach engages our alumni in a new way by asking them who best exemplifies UC Berkeley’s far-reaching influence.”
Alumna and contemporary artist Kimberly Brooks, who graduated as Kimberly Shlain in 1989, came up with the idea for the wall and donated the services of her web design and development firm, Lightray Productions, to build it. UC Berkeley’s University Relations is managing the selection process and site updates.
“I always wanted a simple way to learn about those who are making waves from my alma mater,” Brooks said. “The Wall of Fame brings UC Berkeley’s extraordinary alumni together in a fresh, exciting way, celebrating those we already know about, as well as those we should know.”
“The site redefines ‘fame’ within a distinctly UC Berkeley context of groundbreaking research, imaginative thinking and creativity, professional breakthroughs, and public service,” said Blinder.
The first set of alumni on the wall includes:
• Eric Schmidt (M.S. ’79, Ph.D. ’82), the executive chairman of Google who has led more than a decade of unprecedented innovation and expansion, changing the way information is accessed.
• Kate (’01) and Laura (’01) Mulleavy, the design duo behind Rodarte, whose masterful fashions have wooed international style icons, museums and Hollywood.
• Saul Perlmutter (Ph.D. ’86), who received the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for his seminal role in discovering the accelerating expansion of the universe.
• Jane McGonigal (Ph.D. ’06), a pioneer in alternate-reality games that aim to improve lives and solve problems such as poverty and climate change.
• Ida Jackson (’22, M.A. ’23), one of California’s first African American women to be certified as a teacher and the first black teacher in the Oakland public schools.
The site also contains a section called Connections, which pairs alumni in unusual ways. For example, both George Takei (who attended UC Berkeley) and John Cho (’96) played Mr. Sulu on “Star Trek,” about 40 years apart. Chief Justice Earl Warren (1912, J.D. 1914) overturned the infamous “separate but equal” ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. His Connections counterpart, actor Gregory Peck (’39), became synonymous with Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” one of movie history’s most revered fictional characters to fight for racial justice.
The site integrates social media to enable visitors to share, “like” and comment on posts; participate in online quizzes and other activities; and follow honorees who are active on Twitter and Facebook, enhancing UC Berkeley’s efforts to strengthen alumni ties across generations.
Launched on May 9, the site within the first week had almost 400 “likes” and 5,000 unique visitors who stayed on the site more than three minutes.
“I wanted Lightray to help push UC Berkeley into new territory in terms of recognizing fellow alums and dribbling it across the web and key social media,” said Brooks. “The Wall of Fame also has the potential to inspire other Cal alumni to reach new heights in what they do as well.”
Visit http://berkeleywalloffame.org to see who is part of UC Berkeley’s extraordinary family — and to nominate candidates for inclusion on the Wall.