Engineering across the generations

On May 16, we sent more than 1,200 newly minted engineers into the world to invent stronger bridges, faster computers, greener energy, safer medicines and a host of other societal solutions. Our commencement ceremony in the Greek Theatre made me especially proud of our Berkeley engineers. They offer a rare blend of deep technical expertise and broad mastery of the human skills necessary to make a genuine impact.

To the best of my knowledge, Andy Franklin was the only member of the Class of 2010 with two grandchildren in the audience. Andy, now retired from Bechtel, actually completed his civil engineering Ph.D. in 1970. That happened to be the spring when hundreds of college campuses, including UC Berkeley, canceled graduation exercises due to mounting concerns about volatile student protests against the Vietnam War.

Now, 40 years later, Andy was finally able to walk across the stage for the formal conferral of his doctorate. Mary, his wife, recounts, “The whole Greek Theatre clapped and cheered; we were so amazed and touched. It has been an amazing day and completed a journey that began in 1962 when we came to UC Berkeley for Andy to pursue his Ph.D.”

EECS Ph.D.s Ben and Juliet Rubinstein met at a national youth science forum in Australia. They attended the University of Melbourne together and then had the good fortune to land graduate school positions at Berkeley, entering in fall 2004. On May 16, Ben was hooded by faculty adviser Peter Bartlett, and Juliet was hooded by adviser Andy Neureuther. Ben will join Microsoft Research Silicon Valley this summer, and, in September, they are expecting a baby, one we hope will be a member of Berkeley Engineering’s Class of 2032!

It was my own good fortune to read the names of our 230 graduates in mechanical engineering—baccalaureates, master’s and doctorates—as they walked across the stage, signifying their journey from college life to more schooling, a professional or academic position or wherever their next step may take them. In the spirit of true Berkeley engineers, they will make their own luck. And the rest of society will profit by it. We wish all of our graduates the very best.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and ideas.

Albert P. “Al” Pisano
Acting Dean, College of Engineering
FANUC Professor of Mechanical Systems
Email Acting Dean Pisano