Jennifer and Doug Claman

Jennifer and Doug Claman

The proud parents of a Cal senior, Jennifer and Doug Claman maintain a big-picture approach when it comes to supporting the university. “We give to Cal because of our personal commitment to higher education and because of Berkeley’s perpetual pursuit of academic excellence,” says Jennifer. “Where else can you find Nobel Laureate-only parking spaces?”

The Clamans, who live in Manhattan Beach, California, have a family motto — “Don’t complain about things, change them” — and that ideal often informs their philanthropy. At Cal, they have made gifts to Berkeley Haas, where their daughter Andrea has thrived in her business administration studies and enjoyed professional coaching and development. Additionally, they routinely support Jewish Studies and Jewish student organizations on campus, underscoring their belief in Berkeley’s commitment to inclusion and cultural diversity. “For organizations or programs that have positively impacted us and reflect our values,” says Doug, “we want to do what we can to keep them going.”

The Cal Parents office, Jennifer notes, is happy to help parents identify ways to support their child’s Cal education. And, she adds, it’s an investment worth making. “By giving, you not only have a direct positive impact on the education and experience of your child,” she says, “but you can help ensure the integrity of the Berkeley experience for the next generation of students.”

Oscar Olivas


Even before becoming a first-generation college student at Berkeley, Oscar Olivas appreciated the support that the campus provided him. “I connected with the recruiter, who was later instrumental in launching my career, at a Berkeley Haas case competition,” he recalls. Oscar ultimately earned a dual degree in business administration and Latin American studies — and with so many of his university experiences contributing to his academic and personal development, he is thrilled to give back to his alma mater.

As a donor, Oscar’s main interest is supporting what he considers Berkeley’s greatest asset: its students. Having been a parent while he was a student, “I was grossly unprepared to start my professional career, as I balanced work and studies while supporting my family,” he recalls. Today, Oscar supports dedicated scholarship funds and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Berkeley Haas, helping alleviate students’ financial stress while also fostering their professional development.

A longtime research analyst in the field of asset management, Oscar is clear about the importance of philanthropy in sustaining the university’s excellence — and he understands the value in fostering the immense promise held by Berkeley’s student body. “You should donate to Berkeley because of the great return on investment,” he says. “The collection of students each dollar of investment supports has the potential to change the world.”

Karena Man


As a Cal undergraduate, Karena Man came to revere the University Library — through both her studies and her part-time job shelving books at Doe Library. “The Library is a treasure,” she says. “How many institutions would allow an undergraduate to review original documents ranging from legislation to manuscripts? How many would offer a 19-year-old who had never traveled overseas by herself the opportunity to look at 200-year-old maps?”

A first-generation American and the first in her family to attend college, Karena credits Berkeley for opening her mind and paving the way for her upward mobility. “Even though I was a political science major,” she says, “Berkeley nurtured the intellectual curiosity and critical thinking that enabled me to pursue a career in a field outside that of my formal study.” Today, she works as an executive tech recruiter, and her experience at Cal remains a source of inspiration — including as a donor, the Library being one of her favorite areas of campus to support.

Karena says she feels obliged to keep the path to upward mobility open for future scholars — and that Berkeley is the most obvious place for her to do so. “Until someone can show me another institution that’s as successful as Cal in developing leaders who speak truth to power, reform institutions, build organizations that last, create powerful art, or shape the ideas that change societies,” she says, “my donations are going to Cal.”

Monique Liburd


Even with her busy career as a trademark attorney at Google, Monique Liburd finds the time to give back as a board member for both the East Bay Community Law Center and the Berkeley Law Alumni Association. She’s also a frequent donor to Berkeley Law, knowing firsthand how her law school alma mater strives to create a more just and equitable world — as well as the importance of providing resources to the school’s students who need it most.

“I was fortunate to receive scholarships, grants, and other aid when I attended law school,” Monique recalls. “My ability to be in a position to give directly relates to the caliber of education I received. I want to help future students like me have access to the same or better quality legal education that I was fortunate to benefit from.”

As a donor, Berkeley Law and the university in general continue to resonate for Monique, specifically because of the many ways that its centers, programs, student groups, and financial aid offerings aim to improve our society as a whole while also lending a hand to Cal’s own brightest, most deserving minds. “If you’re looking to make a gift that will have immediate, lasting impact, Cal should be on your shortlist as an engaged, socially responsible institution,” she says. “It’s truly a public school with a public mission.”

Bak and Betty Chan

Bak ’70, M.B.A. ’79 and Betty Chan

As the first in his family to go to college, Bak Chan appreciates everything that Cal and its world-class reputation gave him. “I’m forever indebted to the new students who uphold and enhance the quality of the university — it’s benefited me immensely during my career,” says Bak, who worked as a mechanical engineer before transitioning into financial management after acquiring his MBA degree from Haas. “And now, it’s give-back time.”

To honor Bak’s parents, he and his wife, Betty, endowed a leadership scholarship in 2008 in their name. “It was a thrill for my dad to meet the first recipient a year before his death,” Bak recalls. “That really motivated me to continue to support Cal.” Since then, the Chans have also supported the Tien Center for East Asian Studies and the Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology program, the latter offered by Berkeley Haas and the College of Engineering. “It was love at first sight for Bak,” says Betty, noting her husband’s degrees from both schools. “It was the perfect project for us to support.”

Now a semi-retired financial adviser, Bak urges potential donors to look at their finances and think hard about ways that they can support Berkeley. “It may be easier than you thought,” he says, “and is definitely a win-win proposition.”

Matt Jacobson

Matt Jacobson ’79

Matt Jacobson’s Cal education started long before he enrolled as a student. “My dad practiced his teaching skills at the family dinner table every evening,” he recalls of his late father, Norman, a political science professor for more than five decades. “We absorbed Dad’s passion for teaching, reverence of education, and dedication to fairness and conscience.”

After Norman passed away in 2007, Matt and his family worked with the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities to create the Norman Jacobson Teaching Award, a fellowship that supports a graduate student in the arts and humanities — with an emphasis on teaching over research and getting published. “It has been gratifying and enriching to witness these bright and energetic young people and their passion for pedagogy,” says Matt of the fellowship recipients. He and his wife, Margaret, also created a fellowship supporting humanities faculty.

Throughout his life, Matt has found inspiration in the Berkeley atmosphere — and he suggests that donors do the same when considering making a gift. “I would encourage fellow alumni to expose themselves once again to the energy and passion that is present every day on the campus and in the classrooms,” he says. “They will witness young people in action whose ideas and dedication will change the world. It is an extraordinary experience.“

José and Lisa Bedolla


Today, José Luis Bedolla is a business owner and patent-holding inventor — but earlier in life he was an undocumented student at Berkeley, the son of parents who didn’t go beyond elementary school. Ever mindful of his roots, he and his wife, Berkeley professor and alumna Lisa García Bedolla, have endowed a scholarship for undocumented students at their alma mater. “The roadblocks for students, particularly Dreamers, are so much greater than they were before,” says José Luis.

Lisa, a professor in the Graduate School of Education, agrees. As Cuban refugees, her parents had to leave everything behind. “These students manage to flourish in the most difficult of circumstances,” she says of undocumented students, noting that they often are the most in need of financial aid. “Rather than deporting them, we should be appreciating their contributions.”

The couple recently doubled their scholarship’s endowment, and they hope to serve as models for other Berkeley alumni to give back, noting that anyone can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

“It’s a small amount of money,” José Luis says. “It’s the symbolism that somebody thinks you are worth giving money to — you’re valued. You belong here. You’re part of the community here.”

Judith Bloom


“I have Berkeley in my blood,” jokes Judith Bloom, and she’s not exaggerating by much. The former Cal undergraduate student met her late husband, Dan ’61, during her first week on campus. They later married, settled in town, and raised two children, including another university alumnus, their son Jim ’85.

Berkeley remains in Judith’s heart, as well. As a Charter Hill Society Associate, she regularly supports four areas of campus life: Cal Performances, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, and the Center for Jewish Studies. In particular, Cal Performances has given Judith some wonderful memories. “I’ve seen performers very familiar to me and experienced new programs and performances,” she says. “I even had the pianist Emanuel Ax play ‘Happy Birthday’ to me on a special birthday.”

A retired certified public accountant, Judith sees firsthand the value of Cal not just to the local Berkeley community but also to the state and the world at large. “On a local level, having the world’s premier public university in our community makes this an exciting place to live,” she says. “But it also has made — and continues to make — California great, too.”

Dave and Angelica Clark


More than three decades after graduating from Cal, Dave Clark remains connected to his alma mater — as both a donor and a Cal Parent. Reflecting that deep connection is the recurring generosity that Dave and his wife, Angelica, have displayed toward Berkeley over the years. “I’ve been a donor every year since I graduated,” says Dave, a portfolio manager, “in the beginning giving very modestly and slowly increasing over the years.”

Their status as Cal Parents — their eldest daughter, Alexandra, will graduate in 2019 — only strengthened their support. “It’s reinforced our desire to help Cal in any way we can,” says Angelica, a retired investment professional who also volunteers on the Cal Parents Board along with Dave. “It’s important to try and support the academic institution your child is attending.”

That’s exactly what they’ve done, most recently supporting the Cal Parents Fund and Intercollegiate Athletics, the latter inspired by Dave’s years playing rugby at Cal as well as Alexandra’s participation in women’s crew. For the Clarks, Cal is practically a part of the family, and deserving of consistent support. “We feel it’s important to give back,” Dave says, “and we hope to instill that legacy of giving in Alexandra as well.”

Allan and Sydne Bortel


As Berkeley alumni, Allan and Sydne Bortel know firsthand how exceptional the university is. But a recent campus tour with their granddaughter, a high school junior, reminded the couple of Cal’s power to shape the world’s brightest young minds. “The enthusiasm on campus, the sense of support between students, the caliber of the professors — it all leads us to want to continue to support the university,” says Sydne, a retired social worker who now tutors first-grade schoolchildren from immigrant families.

Though the Bortels both earned graduate degrees at Cal, they are particularly inspired by the potential of the university’s talented undergraduates. “These students have an incredible challenge ahead,” says Allan, a retired investment banker, “and Berkeley provides focus and a culture of responsibility beyond any experience that I or our grown children received.”

Allan and Sydne’s wide-ranging support of Cal — from the Haas School of Business and the School of Optometry to the Library and the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life — reflects their belief in its ability to transform lives in a variety of ways. “A contribution to UC Berkeley,” Sydne says, “is an investment in the future of our world.”

Rishi Chopra


For Rishi Chopra, the motivation to give back to his alma mater is clear: he simply wants to pay it forward. “By giving,” Rishi says, “I’m hoping to help keep alive the promise of Berkeley for future generations of students.”

His gratitude to Berkeley not only stems from his education — he earned a degree in electrical engineering — but also from the Cal family at large. “A fellow Berkeley alumnus hired me at IBM,” he says, referring to his work as an engineer for the tech stalwart after graduation. Over the years, Rishi has consistently given back to the College of Engineering, taking advantage of generous gift-matching programs, as well as to the Library and Intercollegiate Athletics, among many areas of campus.

For Rishi, the need to support the world’s number one public university is stronger than ever. “Our alma mater is the best in the world,” he says, “but state support has dwindled over the past 10 to 15 years. The most important thing should be to ensure that all deserving students, even those with a lack of means, can come to Berkeley. That promise is why the campus stays close to the hearts of so many.”