Not long after the Western calendar’s New Year comes 15 days of marking the traditional Chinese New Year, observed the world over. This year in the same period, Mardi Gras embodies a French Catholic celebration that was transplanted some 300 years ago to Louisiana, while Carnival is celebrated by Brazilians. The Persian New Year follows next month.
Whether these spring festivals are embedded in your background or you are newly discovering these celebrations, occasions abound to savor the multicultural richness of the San Francisco Bay Area — among the most culturally diverse areas of the U.S. and the world.
UC Berkeley is a wonderful place for expanding cultural perspectives. Our student body itself is a microcosm of the world’s intersections and society’s complexity. Did you know that our graduate student population includes students from 99 other countries, as well as from every U.S. state? Women make up almost half the graduate student total, and about one of every eight American students is from an ethnic group historically underrepresented in higher education. Our youngest graduate student last year was 16; the oldest was 75.
Our faculty too come from all over, drawn in part by Berkeley’s multi-dimensional intellectual and social character. I’m a case in point: an Irish-derived English native who, straight out of graduate school in 1983, came to Berkeley, fell in love with its magical mix, and have been in the thick of it ever since. No doubt each of you knows faculty members and postdocs and fellow students from nearly every corner of the globe.
What this means is that — in every classroom, lab, study group and club – we all have much to share about our backgrounds and experiences, and much to learn from one another. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities.
Fiona M. Doyle
Dean of the Graduate Division
Donald H. McLaughlin Professor of Mineral Engineering