The College of Letters & Science will soon celebrate a milestone. During this year’s Homecoming weekend, L&S will mark the creation of its new home in the heart of campus. On October 20, Chancellor Christ and the L&S deans will unveil the new front door of Dwinelle Hall, as well as signage on the historic plaza between Dwinelle and Durant Halls, as the permanent home to the College of Letters & Science. The first phase of this effort began approximately ten years ago with the commitment of Berkeley’s leadership, notably then-Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Facilities, Cathy Koshland, to house college administrative staff in Durant Hall. Following a significant seismic retrofit and remodel, college deans and their staff have occupied Durant since 2011.
Now the college has moved to phase two of the plan: a visible home and front door to the college for students. As Berkeley’s largest academic unit, L&S enrolls 70 percent of our undergraduates--and for these young scholars, a sense of belonging and identity is key. Dwinelle Hall will serve as the hub for L&S undergraduate programs and activities, offering students both a sense of place and an administrative center. The building will house undergraduate advising offices, research programs, and numerous arts, humanities, and social sciences classrooms.
In the coming years the college hopes to refurbish Dwinelle to make it more accessible and relevant to students, part of broader commitments to giving Berkeley’s undergraduates the academic experience of a lifetime. Since 2011 and with the guidance of L&S deans and advisors, the college has steadily implemented pieces of the Undergraduate Education Initiative, a program designed to improve every aspect of our undergraduates’ academic experiences. One important step was to create this physical home for the college. Others included revitalizing Berkeley’s Honor Code, improving undergraduate advising and mentoring, offering expanded research opportunities, and implementing more avenues for engaging in interdisciplinary study, among others.
The creation of a home for the college is a visible way to celebrate its long-term service to so many UC Berkeley degree holders. We hope that our alumni, current students, and friends will join Chancellor Christ, the L&S deans, and members of our staff for this unveiling and celebration of the many achievements on behalf of our undergraduates. Click here for additional event details.