Campus & community, Campus news

Campus completes landmark Hewlett Challenge -- more than two years ahead of schedule

By José Rodríguez

In the last five years, UC Berkeley has created 100 new endowed faculty chairs as part of an unprecedented challenge begun in 2007 when it received $113 million, the largest private gift in its history, from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau announced today that the campus has exceeded its own expectations in completing the Hewlett Challenge more than two years ahead of schedule. The dollar-for-dollar challenge inspired a sweeping number of donors to give, resulting in more than $220 million in endowments for faculty chairholders and their departments and students.

Walter Hewlett leading the Cal Band in a song at the celebration marking the close of the Hewlett Challenge. (Peg Skorpinski photo)

The success of the Hewlett Challenge makes me very confident about the future of our great University, said Birgeneau, in a statement to the campus community. On behalf of the many faculty and students who will benefit from the extraordinary generosity of the Hewlett Foundation and the outpouring of support from our alumni and friends who stepped up to the challenge, I express my deepest and most sincere gratitude.

The benefits for the campus will be wide-ranging and grow for generations as endowment income, leaving a legacy that will be long associated with the leadership of the departing chancellor, who plans to return to teaching and research in the departments of physics and of materials science and engineering in the spring.