Why Cal Still Rocks

I am no apologist when it comes to homerism and the University of California at Berkeley. It is widely regarded as one of the best schools in the world, and on many of those lists it is declared the best university in the world beating out the rest, so says even the London Times. I blogged this previously.

It bears saying again: Berkeley is better than your school. First, with sixty (60) Nobel laureates and counting, no other university comes close, not to mention a small collection of Turing Award laureates. The list of distinguished Cal alumni is absurdly long and Wikipedia has an entire article listing a small selection. If you want the best education you can get, then Cal is your school. Good luck getting in because it’s not easy. But Cal is special, inspiring fierce loyalty, giving an unparalleled education, and teaching beyond education by giving a special sense of community found nowhere else on earth. Not to mention, it’s near San Francisco, one of the best cities there is.

Here is a small list of Berkeley Alumni (or attendees in a few instances) to give you an idea of what Cal can produce:

Technology amd Science: Nine (9) astronauts, and so many people in the computer industry it’s impossible to calculate. But Cal grads are responsible for Xerox, Intel, Apple, Atari, Rambus, Sybase, and others. Dozens of mathematicians and physicists. Douglas C. Engelbart (inventor of the computer mouse), and Steve Wozniak (Apple Computer) are some of the more recognizable names.

Fiction: Philip K. Dick, Robert Baer, Jack London, Terry McMillan, Vikram Chandra, and Amy Tan.

Music: Stewart Copland (drummer for the Police), Susanna Hoffs (Bangles), Stephan Jenkins (Third Eye Blind), and Adam Durtiz (Counting Crows).

Journalism: Scott Adams (Dilbert), Pauline Esther Friedman (Dear Abby), Jann Wenner (Rolling Stone), Peter Chernin (CEO Fox and President of News Corporation), and William Randolph Hearst, Jr. Conservative talk show host Michael Savage was a Berkeley liberal hanging out with his former friend Alan Ginsberg before his brains were scrambled and he went further right than Bush.

Actors: Bill Bixby, Jeff Cohen (Chunk in the cult classic film The Goonies), William Hung (sorry), Stacy Keach, Jerry Mathers (The Beaver), Gregory Peck, George Takei, and John Cho.

Business and Finance: Stephen D. Bechtel (Founder Bechtel), Jean Paul Getty, Donald Fisher (founder The Gap), Walter A. Haas (Co-founder Levi Strauss & Co), Edgar F. Kaiser (founder Kaiser Permanente), Howard Lincoln (chairman Nintendo America, retired), Thomas J. Long (fonder Longs Drugs), Sanjay Mehrotra (co-founder SanDisk), Michael Milken (rogue trader), Paul Otellini (CEO Intel), John Riccitiello (CEO Electronic Arts), Arun Sarin (CEO Vodafone UK), John Scharffenberger (founder of world famous chocolatier), Ralph Warner (founder Nolo Press), and Dean Witter himself. Cal’s first master’s degree was awarded in 1865 to Gardner F. Williams, the first manager of DeBeers Consolidated Mines.

Heads of State and Government and Politics: At least seven (7) presidents, prime ministers, princes, princesses, prime ministers, and at least nine (9) governors. The crown prince of Norway is currently in attendance. Over a dozen secretaries of various governmental departments including Dean Rusk former Secretary of State were loyal Bears. Legislators and mayors (including Ron Dellums) too numerous to list belong to this elite club. As of today, there are eight Cal grads in Congress. Jerry Brown is a Cal grad but that may count as a negative. Even historical figures such as Hiram Johnson are Cal grads — he in 1888, for Cal is historic if nothing else.

Judiciary: Earl Warren, chief justice of the US Supreme Court. Lance Ito of OJ Simpson fame, and others many others far more distinguished but not as famous.

Athletes: Again, so many including Jason Kidd, Kevin Johnson (with whom I attended classes), Kyle Boller, Steve Bartkowski, Joe Kapp, Joe Roth, Joe Rose, Russell White, and Chuck Muncie. There are over two dozen Cal Olympians as well, of which Matt Biondi is perhaps the best known. The Cal Rugby team is the best in the NCAA winning 22 out of the past 27 titles including 12 in a row from 1991.

And More: Alice Waters (Chef), Timothy Leary (counter-culture icon), Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber), and the universally famous Rube Goldberg. And let us not forget Jay Ward, creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, and others. In an interesting sidenote many fictional characters are Cal grads too from Jack Bauer on 24, to Monk, to Mrs. Robinson in the legendary film the Graduate.


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