Berkeley’s Ties to China: A Relationship Spanning over 140 Years

I just read a great chronology of UC Berkeley’s ties to China. It was posted to Haas@Cal website. In courtesy of the author, I forwarded the full text here to share with more readers.

Berkeley’s Ties to China:

A Relationship Spanning over 140 Years

1868 Founding of the first of the University of California nine campuses at Berkeley.  The new Town and the permanent site of the University campus named in honor of Irish philosopher George Berkeley

1872 Regent Edward Tompkins, one of Berkeley’s founding fathers, endows the first “chair of learning” at the fledgling University of California, the Agassiz Professorship in Asian languages and cultures

1896 Department of East Asian Languages founded

1898 College of Commerce founded, in part to serve as a “portal” for the exchange of “products and thoughts” between East and West

Professor John Fryer, a legendary promoter of Chinese modernization who lived and worked in China  for 33 years as a government translator before accepting the first Agassiz Professorship at Berkeley, offers a course on the “commerce of China and Japan with Europe and America” to meet the needs of students of the newly organized College of Commerce

1899 Benjamin Ide Wheeler becomes President of the University of California and pledges his support for the expansion of Asian studies at Berkeley: “Here can be collected to best advantage data concerning the conditions of the markets in the Asiatic world, and here can be taught to best advantage the manners, customs, social conditions, civilization, and languages of that world”

1919 Berkeley Political Science Professor N. Wing Mah is the first, or among the first, US scholars to present courses in the United States on the political institutions of China and Japan

1921 The Berkeley Bureau of International Relations is founded, in part to provide opportunities to research international law and relations on Asiatic affairs

1928 Phi Theta, the Berkeley honor society for Asian languages, is founded

1930 International House Berkeley, the gift of US industrialist John D. Rockefeller, is established.  Rockefeller recognized that the Bay Area, and Berkeley, are the American point of entry from Asia … “through which pours so much of the world’s commerce and travel.”  Since its founding, the International House has been home to thousands of international students from the Pacific Rim, many of whom have achieved prominent positions in areas of intellectual, political, and social life

1942 University of California hosts the California College in China to promote opportunities for intensive language study of Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, and Malay

1946 Professor Claude Hutchison, Dean of the College of Agriculture, leads mission of 13 Chinese agriculturalists to study Chinese agricultural practice and make recommendations for improvement in yield

1947 Professor Yuen Ren Chao, developer of the National Romanization, a phonetic alphabet for the Chinese language often bearing his name and officially adopted by the Chinese government in 1927, accepts the Agassiz Professorship at Berkeley

Berkeley endows the East Asian library, one of the most comprehensive collections of materials in East Asian languages in the United States.  The Center for Chinese Studies Library, of which it is a part, is the world’s largest repository of materials on contemporary China outside the People’s Republic

1957 Center for Chinese Studies is inaugurated

1977 Walter and Elise Haas Chair in Asian Studies is endowed

1978 Institute of East Asian Studies is inaugurated

1979 Berkeley becomes the first US institution to sign bilateral agreements on faculty exchange with Beijing, Tsinghua, Fudan, and Jiao Tong Universities following President Nixon’s trip to China.  The agreements were widely publicized in China as an important and valued first step toward normalizing ties between the US and China

1981 UC Berkeley and Tsinghua University agree to microfilm project to film and exchange rare books in the library holdings of both institutions

1985 University of California hosts 40 state leaders from across the United States to attend the first national Pacific Rim Conference

1986 University of California President David Gardner founds the Pacific Rim Research Program, a competitive grants program to support collaborative research on the Pacific Rim by UC faculty, acknowledging that “California’s location and immigrant heritage [enable it] to play a pivotal role in what will surely be one of the greatest centers of trade, commerce, and cultural exchange the world has ever known”

1988 Berkeley is awarded grants under Title VI of the Higher Education Act to fund the Berkeley East Asia National Resource Center to support teaching, lectures and conferences, outreach programs, and the East Asian Studies library

1989 Tung-Yen Lin, Class of 1933 and member of the civil engineering faculty at Berkeley for 30 years, creates the T.Y. and Margaret Lin Chair in Engineering

Berkeley signs exchange program with Tsinghua University

1990 Chang-lin Tien becomes Berkeley’s seventh Chancellor

Yu-Il Han Chair in Asian Studies is endowed

1992 Law students at Boalt Hall create the first Asian Law Journal in US, concentrating on immigration law, trade policy towards Asian nations, and the biographies of prominent Asian Americans

1994 T.Y. Lin named Berkeley Alumnus of the Year

Haas Professor John Harsanyi, 1920-2000, wins the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science  for his work in game theory, a mathematical theory of human behavior in competitive situations that has become a dominant tool for analyzing real-life conflicts in business, management, and international relations

1996 Berkeley Chancellor Chang-lin Tien collaborates with counterparts at UCLA, Cal Tech, and USC to found the Association of Pacific Rim Universities to facilitate strategic partnerships for teaching and research

1997 University of California/Tsinghua University Conference on Internet Communication Technology, with UC President Atkinson, Chancellor Chang-lin Tien, an honorary member of the Tsinghua faculty, and Tsinghua University President Wang Dazhong, to promote academic partnerships between UC and leading research universities in China

1999 Liu Visiting Scholars Program is established to provide senior-level public administrators from China who are responsible for directing regional growth with an opportunity to study at Berkeley

2000 Haas one of eight departments campuswide to receive a Liu Visiting Scholar, Xu Wei, CFO of Shanghai Electric Group Corporation

2001 Inaugural Berkeley MBA student-run Asia Business Conference started. Speakers included the School’s Professor Janet Yellen, currently President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Dr. Laura D’Andrea Tyson, member of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, former Dean of the Haas School and former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors to the President in the Clinton Administration.

Building on these roots, the Berkeley MBA Asia Business Conference strives to gather industry leaders to create a collective dialogue about the hottest topics in Asian business and continues to this day.

2008 The School launches its Asia Business Center, and holds a successful first conference in Singapore in December 2008.  Professor Teck-hua Ho is the faculty advisor for this area.  Dean Richard K. Lyons makes a strategic commitment to increase the school’s global footprint, most immediately with Asia due to Berkeley’s historic connections to the area.