Hewlett Challenge: a catalyst for faculty excellence

“This is the hour to step forward to help one of the greatest causes in our society today.”

— Walter Hewlett, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

If there was a signature moment in the campaign, it came during the silent phase in 2007 when Walter Hewlett (pictured) announced the largest private gift ever to Berkeley — a challenge grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to raise 100 new endowed faculty chairs across every school and college on campus.

In announcing the gift, Hewlett called Berkeley the “crown jewel of public higher education” and urged the “multitude of loyal Berkeley alumni and friends to hark and respond to her need at this time.” And step forward they did.

The Hewlett Challenge was a prime catalyst for the campaign’s success. It inspired donors to step forward to meet the match, raised more than $220 million, and created 100 endowed chairs. Beyond that, donors raised 54 additional chairs, bringing the grand total from 320 before the campaign to 474 today. This nearly 50 percent increase boosts one of our most valuable tools for recruiting and retaining the world’s best faculty.

The Hewlett Challenge also ushered in a broad model for endowed faculty chairs that touched departments in every school and college. It also provided support for graduate students and fostered innovative research that cuts across traditional disciplines. Attracting and keeping the best minds will ensure Berkeley’s ability to cultivate the highest-caliber teaching and research in service to the public good.

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Campus completes challenge

Video: The challenge is announced

Berkeley’s largest gift ever

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