Chang-Lin Tien (1935–2002): a chancellor’s
joined the Berkeley faculty in the Department of Mechanical
Engineering in 1959; by 1962 he received the Distinguished
Teaching Award, an honor he cherished. He guided more than
60 students to their doctorates and, even during his term
as chancellor, continued to mentor graduate students and teach
classes in mechanical engineering.
PEG SKORPINSKI PHOTO
Chang-Lin Tien is still remembered and mourned across the Berkeley
campus and throughout the many communities he warmly inhabited,
following his death last fall at age 67.
Tien was University Professor Emeritus, NEC Distinguished Professor
Emeritus in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Chancellor
of UC Berkeley from 1990 to 1997. A beloved teacher, scientist
and administrator, he was celebrated for his omnipresence around
campus and his enthusiastic cheering at Cal sports events.
Diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2000, Tien suffered a crippling
stroke shortly afterward and never fully recovered. The Taiwanese
immigrant and aspiring basketball player became the first Asian
American to lead a major U.S. research university.
His years as chancellor were distinguished by his outspoken support
of equal opportunity and his unflagging efforts to stabilize campus
funding during a state budget crisis in the early 1990s. His dedication,
high standards, energy, and accessibility endeared him to undergraduates,
movie stars and international statesmen alike.
"When we walked down the streets of Taipei together,
it was like walking the streets of Chicago with Michael Jordan,"
said C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr., who served as vice chancellor under
Tien. Passionate about bridging communications between East and
West, Tien was an unofficial diplomat in Asia and active on many
commissions and foundations to promote U.S.-Chinese relations.
As an engineer, Tien’s work in heat transfer and thermal
science earned him worldwide recognition and many honors, including
the highest international award in the field, the Max Jakob Memorial
Award. He pioneered a new field known as microscale thermophysical
engineering and made notable contributions to fluid flow, phase-change
energy transfer, heat pipes, reactor safety, cryogenics, and fire
phenomena. He served as chair of the Department of Mechanical
Engineering for seven years.
stepped down as chancellor in July 1997, he said, "Perhaps
the most important thing that I would like to be remembered
for is that I injected a bit of a human touch on the campus
and made it more humane, personal and caring."
JOHN BLAUSTEIN PHOTO
Nearly his entire 41-year career was devoted to
Berkeley. As chancellor, he fortified undergraduate education
and worked to improve the quality of the undergraduate experience
on campus. He revitalized intercollegiate athletics and, despite
the Regents’ 1995 decision to eliminate affirmative action
programs, fostered diversity among faculty, staff and students
by expanding appointments and admission opportunities to women
and underrepresented minorities.
In the face of the deepest budget cuts in campus history, Tien
responded by initiating — in the words of current Chancellor
Robert Berdahl — "the most audicious capital campaign
of any public university in history." Under Tien’s
leadership the campaign raised nearly $1 billion. Despite the
budgetary woes, new facilities continued to be built (including
the Haas School of Business), and Cal maintained its excellence.
In 1995, the National Research Council ranked 35 of Berkeley’s
36 doctoral programs in the top 10 nationally, the best record
of any university.
Tien set personal records wherever he went. At Princeton he earned
his master’s and doctorate in 1959 after only two years
of study, later explaining that he worked quickly toward his degree
so that his parents would permit him to marry his future wife,
Di-Hwa. At age 24, he was the youngest appointee ever to Berkeley’s
Department of Mechanical Engineering and, two years later, the
youngest faculty member ever to win Berkeley’s coveted Distinguished
Teaching Award. At age 41, he was the youngest individual ever
elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering.
Other honors included, in 1997, the first UC Berkeley Presidential
Medal as well as title of University Professor, bestowed by the
UC Regents on scholars of international distinction; and, in 2001,
the Berkeley Citation, a campuswide honor for retiring faculty.
The International Astronomical Union named an asteroid after him
in 1999, and Chevron christened its newest tanker the Chang-Lin
Tien in 2000. On campus, the East Asian Library and Studies Center
will bear his name.
Tien is survived by his wife, Di-Hwa, of Hillsborough; his son,
Norman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at
UC Davis; daughter Phyllis, a physician at UCSF; daughter Christine,
deputy city manager of Stockton; and four grandchildren.
Donations in honor of the former chancellor may be made to the
Chang-Lin Tien Center for East Asian Studies. Checks, payable
to the UC Berkeley Foundation, may be mailed to Vice Chancellor-University
Relations, University Relations, 2440 Bancroft Way, Room 4200,
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-4200. For more information on the center
or to make an online contribution, see www.urel.berkeley.edu/tiencenter.