Robert J. Birgeneau

  • University of California, Berkeley

Robert J. Birgeneau became the ninth chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, on September 22, 2004 serving until May 31, 2013. An internationally distinguished physicist, he is a leader in higher education and is well known for his commitment to diversity and equity in the academic community. Under his leadership, Berkeley became the first university in the United States to offer comprehensive financial aid to undocumented students and the first public university to provide significant financial aid to middle class students. Birgeneau currently holds the Arnold and Barbara Silverman Distinguished Chair in the Departments of Physics, Materials Science and Engineering and Public Policy at Berkeley. Before coming to Berkeley, he served four years as President of the University of Toronto. He previously was Dean of the School of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he spent 25 years on the faculty. Birgeneau is a fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the American Philosophical Society and other scholarly societies. He has received many awards for teaching and for his research on the fundamental properties of materials. A Toronto native, Birgeneau received his B.Sc. in mathematics from the University of Toronto in 1963 and his Ph.D. in physics from Yale University in 1966.