Dirks: ‘We’ve come too far to give up who we are’

In a video message sent to students and posted online today, UC Berkeley’s new chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, welcomed new and returning students on the launch of the 2013-14 academic year.

Early conversations with undergrad and grad students “have brought home what it really means to be the chancellor of this university,” Dirks said. “Beyond your passion, sense of purpose and disdain for the status quo is a deep, abiding interest in connecting your academic pursuits with your desire to make the world a better place.

“I have also been deeply impressed,” he said, “by the extent to which students want Berkeley to maintain its public character, its diversity, its excellence, its traditions of support for free speech.”

Dirks pledged to help preserve UC Berkeley’s past record as “a beacon for the best of what public higher education can be,” as well as to foster a collective conversation to “imagine new futures” for the university.