WHAT MADE BERKELEY GREAT? The Sources of Berkeley's Sustained Academic Excellence


UC Berkeley’s chief academic officer explores the historical sources of Berkeley’s academic excellence. He identifies five key factors: (1) wealth from many sources; (2) supportive and skilled governors; (3) leadership from key UC presidents; (4) the pioneering ethos within the State of California; and (5) a process of continuous devolution of authority within the State and the University. He then addresses the extent to which these factors continue as causal drivers today. He concludes by identifying optimistic and pessimistic scenarios, based on contrasting assumptions about the strength of those causal drivers, and ends with a call for the State and the UC system not to inhibit efforts by UCB’s leaders to do what is needed to sustain Berkeley’s academic excellence.

George W. Breslauer
Publication date: 
January 1, 2011
Publication type: 
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
Patricia A. Pelfrey. (2011). ONE UNIVERSITY: The Evolution of an Idea. UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education.