Today’s been a big day at UC Berkeley, where Nicholas Dirks was officially invested as the campus’s 10th chancellor. New UC President Janet Napolitano bestowed the Chancellor’s Medal on Dirks during a two-hour ceremony at Zellerbach Hall. He gave an inaugural speech that touched on his family and scholarly background — his father’s “accidental” awakening to career in academia and the journey that led him to a leadership position at New York’s Columbia University and finally to Berkeley. He committed himself to re-engaging state officials and the public to restore financial support for the university and to continue UC Berkeley’s historic pursuit of diversity.
KQED’s Mina Kim talked to Dirks Thursday, the day before his formal investiture. The new chancellor started by saying that maintaining the high quality of Berkeley’s undergraduate programs is one of his top priorities: