Daniel Koshland Jr. ’41

Though his father helped lead Levi Strauss & Co. for decades, Koshland built his life around science, not jeans. A third-generation Cal grad, he was a longtime professor of molecular and cell biology at Berkeley and a brilliant scientist known for his work on proteins and enzymes. In the 1980s, he spearheaded a massive reorganization of 11 biology departments that included a new curriculum to reflect advances in genetics and protein interactions. A subsequent campaign renovated one campus building and funded two others, one of which is named in Koshland’s honor. As his colleague Robert Tjian said, “People thought the reorganization was impossible, and I think no one else could have pulled it off.” Koshland also served as the editor of Science from 1985–1995, turning “a good, but stodgy journal” into the nation’s leading voice of science. Extending his vision and generosity beyond Berkeley, he established a scholarship program for San Francisco public high school students. Nga Pham, a 2012 recipient, said in a video, “This is the first time that I’ve wanted to go to college so bad. Even though I only came here two years ago, I realized that there’s nothing that I cannot do.” Among Koshland’s many awards are the National Medal of Science in 1990, the Berkeley Medal, and Alumnus of the Year in 1991.

Comments are closed.