Reception Welcomes Chancellor-Designate of University of California, Berkeley

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TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A reception was held yesterday in Taipei to welcome Nicholas B. Dirks, the new University of California, Berkeley chancellor-designate.

Nicholas Dirks, the current Columbia University executive vice president and dean of the faculty of Arts and Science, will be the 10th chancellor for the University of California, Berkeley succeeding Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau on June 1.

Dirks, Vice Chancellor for the University of California Berkeley Scott Biddy, and Nobel laureate Dr. Yuan Tseh Lee all attended the reception held by Berkeley Club Taiwan.

"Dirks has helped shape and propel Columbia from a sleepy Ivy school to (the top of) the Ivy," said President of Berkeley Club Taiwan Steven Pan, "and as of right now all the schools (within the Columbia system) rank higher than 10 years ago, so really it was quite an accomplishment."

Chancellor-designate Dirks talked about his vision and expectations on becoming a future chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, a school that was ranked fifth on the 2013 World Reputation Rankings by Times Higher Education.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this role," Dirks said, "(even though) I loved my time at Columbia. When I was offered the opportunity to take on the role of chancellor at the University of California at Berkeley, how can you say no to that? This is surely one of the very best universities in the world."

Dirks said that he was concerned when he was approached about this position for the substantial disinvestment on the part of the state of California in support of the entire higher education system.

He said that he was wondering if it is possible for the university to sustain its reputation of excellence. …