Community Reflects on Lasting Imprint of Tien's Legacy

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People from all corners of the campus and city community yesterday mourned the loss of former Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien.

Students, administrators and city officials said Tien's legacy left a deep imprint in the lives of everyone he met.

"His enthusiasm and energy were so infectious," said Carol Christ, who was vice chancellor and provost during Tien's term. "He made a big and impersonal place seem small and personal, and he inspired everyone with his energy."

Many remembered Tien's outspokenness against the UC Board of Regents' decision to eliminate affirmative action. Ralph Carmona, who was a UC Regent from 1994-96, said Tien was the only person who stood behind him when he took a stance against the regents' decision.

"He allowed people to see things they didn't see before or act on convictions about things they saw as evil," Carmona said. "He certainly did that for me when I was a regent."

Tien's vision brought UC through a difficult budget crisis in the early 1990s when he launched an ambitious $1.1 billion fundraising campaign, called the Campaign for the New Century.

"In a time of really bleak economic circumstances, he had that courage to announce such a bold venture on behalf of the campus," said Donald McQuade, vice chancellor of university relations. "He was the right man at the right time doing the right things."

Tien's around-the-clock dedication to the university came out even when he was off-duty. McQuade recalled one incident when Tien managed to walk off an international flight with a $1 million pledge to the university from a soon-to-be lifelong friend.

"(Tien and I) used to joke that you had to hold your wallet if you sat next to him on an airplane," Christ said.

But even if he could not capture their purses, Tien was an expert at capturing hearts.

When he found then-UC Berkeley student Tae-Kyu Lee's lost wallet in 1997, Tien personally returned it to Lee's apartment.

Many students remembered Tien's concern for the student body and his high visibility on campus.

"I remember he was absolutely everywhere on campus," said UC Berkeley alumnus Paul Hogarth. "I saw him on Sproul Plaza, talking to students. He showed up to rallies. And he had an absolutely wonderful 'Go Bears' spirit."

Tien's vivacity even reached members of the city community, said Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean.

"In spite of the fact that he was so involved in cutting-edge technology, he would appear at Berkeley High School," Dean said.

Even though Tien often had a "contentious relationship" with the ASUC, students recognized Tien's integral contributions to the campus, said Sanjeev Bery, who served in the ASUC from 1997-98.

"It's possible to recognize that at the same time that we disagreed with what the university did to the student government, it is possible to really appreciate all that Chancellor Tien did to unify the campus community and miss him now that he is gone," Bery said.

Former Student Regent Jess Bravin echoed the magnitude of Tien's accomplishments.

"Chancellor Tien brought a tremendous amount of enthusiasm that restored the spirit of the campus and positioned us to not only weather that storm but to emerge stronger," said Bravin, who graduated from the Boalt Hall School of Law in 1997.


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