Dear Graduate Student Community,

Lisa García Bedolla

You did it! Another academic year has come to a close and, as I have said many times in past messages, I and all of us in the Graduate Division applaud your resilience and enthusiastic spirit! As the world around us struggles with so many crises — global conflicts and the war in Ukraine, economic uncertainty, climate change, poverty, continued racism and social injustice — your aspirations, optimism, and achievements inspire hope for the future. 

The end of the academic year is a time for celebration as well as reflection. As I write this, commencement ceremonies are happening all over campus and the excitement is palpable. Over 4,000 of you have achieved your dream of earning a graduate degree — approximately 3,200 master’s and professional degrees, and nearly 800 doctoral degrees were conferred this year. It excites us to know that all of you will go on to accomplish great things in your own way, many of you creating life-changing solutions to the world’s challenges. Congratulations from all of us in GradDiv!

What fuels my certainty about your impact is the initiative and leadership I have witnessed within our graduate community throughout the year. We are especially proud to honor those students who have shown extraordinary commitment to supporting their peers and fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment. This year’s winners of the 2022 Graduate Student Peer Mentor Awards — Michael Banerjee, Caleb Dawson, Emma Lurie and Alisha Menon — exemplify that commitment. It is no secret that many UC Berkeley students would never have been able to complete their education and participate in commencement were it not for the mentoring and support of fellow students.

I also want to acknowledge the inaugural winners of our Leadership in Graduate Diversity Awards, which recognize graduating doctoral, masters or professional school students’ contributions to diversifying the academy. Congratulations to Derrika Hunt and Kristen Nelson, with honorable mentions to George Moore and Andrew Phuong! Read more about their accomplishments below.

It is a privilege to be part of the Berkeley community, where honoring diversity and creating an environment of belonging is recognized as paramount to student success. This month, right on the heels of celebrating National Autism Awareness Month in April, campus celebrates both Jewish American Heritage month and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, highlighting students, faculty, and staff from these communities who have enriched the Berkeley experience. 

As you know, building diversity is not possible without the financial aid that enables students from underrepresented communities to participate in a UC education. To that end, we’re pleased to announce a new UC program providing fully-funded tuition for California resident Native American UC students beginning fall 2022. Our mission here at Berkeley is to help support you to do your best work, and we know finding funding sources can be a challenge for all students. Just last week the Graduate Division began distributing approximately $4,300,000 to departments for them to provide financial support to continuing doctoral students. We will be sharing more about this and other funding efforts soon. 

Again, I want to congratulate all of you for successfully making it through the year! I hope your summer plans include a well-deserved break, relaxing, and doing the things you enjoy most with family and friends. Lastly, save the date for our 2nd annual graduate student welcome event, Grad-stravaganza, August 25, 2022. All new and returning graduate students are invited to gather in Sproul Plaza, share your summer stories, and just have some fun.

Fiat Lux! See you next year!

Lisa García Bedolla

Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division