Dean’s word: We’ve changed

May 1, 2012 by S. Shankar Sastry
This article appeared in Berkeley Engineer magazine, Spring 2012

When was your last visit to Berkeley Engineering? If it’s been awhile, you are in for some surprises.

Start your virtual tour at North Gate and walk east. What you may remember as the Naval Architecture Building is now renovated—faithful to its historic designation —and expanded as Blum Hall, home to the Blum Center for Developing Economies and the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership. In both programs, our students are applying their learning to important global challenges, from alleviating poverty to scaling technological innovation.

Dean Sastry and Eric SchmidtREUNITED: At this spring’s Charter Gala, Dean Sastry congratulates Eric Schmidt (M.S.’79, Ph.D.’82 EECS), executive chairman of Google, on being named Cal’s 2012 Alumnus of the Year. The two trace their friendship back to when they were students, both living at International House within earshot of Memorial Stadium’s PA system.Next door, in Sutardja Dai Hall’s CITRIS Tech Museum, you’ll see exhibits of Berkeley-made smart technology that Californians are already using to increase energy efficiency, reduce traffic congestion and support patient care. Continue on to Bechtel Engineering Center, where space has been renovated to house our student advising and leadership development programs. Step inside the Kresge Engineering Library, and in the place of
dusty bookshelves, you’ll see students working on group projects in light-filled meeting rooms.

And next to the stately Hearst Memorial Mining Building, renovated for state-of-the-art nanomaterials research, is the new Stanley Hall. Here, bioengineers are collaborating with their colleagues in the physical and biological sciences to address the world’s most urgent challenges in health, energy and the environment.

These physical changes have transformed the college, creating more room for discovery and invention as well as more intersections for fruitful interaction. With this issue, the college’s magazine has also been transformed. The venerable Forefront, first
published in 1970, is now Berkeley Engineer. The new name clearly defines our sense
of place and purpose, and celebrates the human values that are at the core of our work.

In these pages, you will find the same high-quality news, articles and updates on fellow alumni—along with new editorial features, such as a Q&A highlighting some of the college’s most interesting people. You’ll see more reflection and analysis—the story behind the story—and comments from our readers and followers. Knowing how engineers like data, we offer informative graphics and photography to show, rather than tell, how game-changing technology takes shape.

The new magazine supports our efforts to build a strong Berkeley Engineering community and forge connections among our students, faculty, alumni, parents, donors and friends. Reader surveys have demonstrated support for the new direction. And trends in publishing open up new and more flexible ways of telling stories. A magazine website, more multimedia, new editorial features and a redesigned e-newsletter are also in the works.

Consider Berkeley Engineer your gateway into the college—and an invitation to give us your own viewpoints on what it means to be a Berkeley Engineer. We are always glad to hear from you—and always glad to know of your next visit. Don’t wait too long.

S. Shankar Sastry
Dean and Roy W. Carlson Professor of Engineering
Director, Blum Center for Developing Economies