Campus bids farewell to the Birgeneaus, with burgers, hot dogs and good cheer

Members of the UC Rally Committee were among those from the campus community who came out to bid farewell Tuesday to Chancellor Robert and Mary Catherine Birgeneau, who greeted well-wishers at a barbecue lunch on the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Plaza. In brief remarks Birgeneau, who steps down in June after nearly nine years as chancellor, noted the aptness of the venue, the scene of an 18-month tree-sit aimed at derailing the Memorial Stadium project. “If you’re thinking clearly and you know you’re doing the right thing, you can’t give up,” Birgeneau told the crowd, a lesson he said applied equally to the successful fight to pass the California Dream Act, one of his signature causes as Berkeley chancellor. Mary Catherine, recalling her initial reluctance to leave Toronto for California, called the past nine years “a really extraordinary period in my life,” adding, “I want to thank you all for a great ride, a wonderful experience for me, and Go Bears!”