Mario Savio

In October 1964 — after a student had been arrested for setting up an an unauthorized table on campus — Savio grabbed the public’s attention when he climbed atop a police car to defend free speech at UC Berkeley. As students nationwide were organizing around racial justice and America’s intensifying involvement in Vietnam, Savio inspired thousands of fellow students to protest limitations on political speech — spawning the Free Speech Movement. In one speech, he famously compared the administration to a machine: You’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels … And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it … that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.” Faculty voted to drop the restrictions after nearly 800 protesters were arrested on Dec. 2, 1964. Savio taught at Sonoma State University and continued to fight for justice until his death in 1996.


Public Service and Activism

Sweet and Salty

John Scharffenberger ’73 (left) co-founded the “bean-to-bar” Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker in 1997 – fueling a national resurgence in artisan chocolate-making. He and partner Robert Steinberg were determined to highlight the true flavor of cacao and took the pioneering step of labeling their distinctive treats with the percentage of cacao they contained. Second-generation health crusader Patricia Bragg (right) produces a zesty array of organic apple cider vinegars, vinegar drinks, dressings, seasonings, and other Bragg Live Foods comestibles. Dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles and nutritional habits, Bragg is a widely recognized consultant, motivational speaker, and self-help author.


Tiffany Shlain ’92

Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Shlain founded and led the Webby Awards — the global bellwether for honoring excellence on the web — for almost a decade before shifting her passions toward filmmaking. Her last four films premiered at Sundance, including Connected, an acclaimed feature documentary that explores the links among complex issues such as consumption, technology, and human rights as Shlain searches for her place in a fast-changing world. She is currently working on a new series of 15 short films aimed at inspiring global change. Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks, the newest film and a TED Book, examines the parallels between the development of a child’s brain and the development of the Internet. Shlain gave the keynote speech at UC Berkeley’s commencement in 2010. Visit her website, or follow her on Twitter @tiffanyshlain.

Arts and Entertainment, Honors and Awards, Innovators, Technology and Engineering

Jay DeFeo ’50, M.A. ’51

“I believe the only real moments of happiness and a feeling of aliveness and completeness occur when I swing a brush,” wrote DeFeo in a letter to her mother in 1952. At the heart of the Beat Generation  — San Francisco’s historic community of musicians, artists, and poets —   DeFeo resisted conventional materials in her exploration of painting, collage, drawing, and other forms. From 1958 to 1966, she was singularly obsessed with creating The Rose, a monumental work so thick with paint that it blurred the lines between sculpture and painting. Although DeFeo was not well known outside of the West Coast when she died of cancer at age 60, she is receiving due praise today. Museum-goers can enjoy an in-depth retrospective of her work at SFMOMA through Feb. 3, 2013, or find more information through the Jay DeFeo Trust or the trust’s page on Facebook.

Arts and Entertainment

Global Healers

With a string of inventions and ideas, Ashok Gadgil Ph.D. ’79 is easing hardships for millions around the globe. Hailed for his low-cost, high-impact solutions, the Berkeley professor and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist designed a fuel-efficient cooking stove for displaced people in Darfur, and devised methods for disinfecting water and removing arsenic from it. The groundbreaking research of fellow faculty member Kirk R. Smith ’68, M.P.H. ’72, Ph.D. ’77 elucidates the pollution risks of indoor cooking with wood and other solid fuels. Smith discovered that household air pollution in developing nations is responsible for nearly two million premature deaths per year, disproportionately afflicting women and children.


Pema Chodron ’63, C.MULT. ’65

Divorce. An accident. Illness. Death. While such life events leave many of us feeling great loss, to Chodron, an American Buddhist nun, they are opportunities to learn how to face fear with a smile. One of the most influential spiritual leaders in the West today, Chodron primarily teaches in the United States and Canada and directs Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners. Her deepest desire is to share  teachings and meditation practices that lead to peace and kindness within ourselves, our families, and our communities. Her earthy, insightful books include bestsellers When Things Fall Apart and Don’t Bite the Hook, and she is frequently featured in the magazine Shambhala Sun. Learn more about her work through the Pema Chodron Foundation or a student-led fan page on Facebook.


Yung Ho Chang M.Arch. ’84

Like artists, architects have masterpieces, definitive works that perfectly capture their aesthetics and design vision. Frank Lloyd Wright’s was “Falling Water.” Chang’s is “Split House.” Since launching China’s first independent architectural firm, Atelier FCJZ, in 1993, Chang has become internationally recognized for his aesthetically intriguing and ecologically conscious marriage of traditional and modern design techniques in notable projects and installations worldwide. Chang founded the Graduate School of Architecture at Peking University in 1999 and later headed MIT’s Department of Architecture. The College of Environmental Design recognized him with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.

Design, Honors and Awards, Innovators

Kris Yao M.Arch. ’78

“People have to feel welcomed by the building and the building has to embrace people,” said Yao, speaking to Taiwan Today about his design philosophy. Internationally acclaimed, Yao won the National Award for Arts in the architecture category — the highest honor in the field of culture and art in Taiwan. His firm, Artech Architects, specializes in corporate, residential, and cultural structures, as well as educational, transportation, and hotel facilities around the world. World Architecture Magazine noted in 1999 that Yao and his firm are at the “forefront of the revolution” in architecture in Taiwan. Yao is currently collaborating with Rem Koolhaas on the design of the Taipei Performing Arts Center. The College of Environmental Design recognized him with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005.

Design, Honors and Awards, Innovators

Maz Jobrani ’93


Although his parents thought his wit and flair would make him a great lawyer, Jobrani was first  bitten by the show-biz bug when he played a tree in a school play at age 6. Bridging the rift between the Middle East and West, Jobrani’s taboo-tampering comedy elicits laughter around the world. He is best known as a founding member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, a group of top comedians who sold out a recent international tour of 27 shows and landed a special on Comedy Central — the first show on American TV with an all-Middle Eastern/American cast. Jobrani himself has been on The Colbert Report, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, among other shows. He also appeared in the movies The Interpreter and 13 Going on 30. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter @MazJobrani.



Arts and Entertainment

Guitar Heroes

With her psychedelic vibe and heartfelt lyrics, Susanna Hoffs ’80 (left) is best known as the guitarist and vocalist for The Bangles, an all-female 80s band whose hits included “Manic Monday” and “Walk Like an Egyptian.” Her website called her latest solo album Someday a “love letter to the music of 1960s.” Find Hoffs on Facebook. Like many kids, Charles Huang ’93 (right) dreamed of rocking out in front of thousands of fans. In 2005 he and his brother developed Guitar Hero, an interactive music video game in which users can simulate the concert experience while playing a guitar-shaped controller. An instant sensation, the game made a record-breaking $1 billion in North American retail sales in just 18 months.