Andrew Szeri
Andrew Szeri

I was glad to see some of you November 8th at the Inauguration of Nicholas B. Dirks as the 10th Chancellor of UC Berkeley. The day was one of “pomp and circumstance.” Among the students who presented greetings at the ceremony in Zellerbach Hall was Graduate Assembly vice president Bahar Navab.

The celebratory atmosphere of commitment to Berkeley’s continued excellence as the world’s stellar public university was invigorating! You can see scenes of the day and link to a transcript of the Chancellor’s address.

In Chancellor Dirks’ outline of his vision for the future, the centrality of graduate students at our great institution was evident. Championing a broad arts and sciences education, he noted the importance of graduate students as “mentors as well as teachers” who strengthen links between undergraduates and faculty. As our university increasingly addresses “the greater good on a global scale for a global public,” graduate students are linchpins, both for the international origins of many of you and for the international impacts of your research and your eventual careers. Speaking of innovation across the disciplines, the Chancellor acknowledged graduate students as “critical to our research mission.” To illustrate, he highlighted Ph.D. student Fermin Reygadas, who “won a Big Ideas award for work he has been doing to create ultraviolet water treatments for households in Mexico.”

Further, Chancellor Dirks declared he will “work to find better support” for Berkeley’s graduate students — a collaboration shared each day by all of us in the Graduate Division.

We wish you a good Thanksgiving break in a few weeks!

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