Regents' and Chancellor's Scholarship Program - Fall 2015 Newsletter

Regents' and Chancellor's Scholarship Program
FALL 2015
Letter from the Chair, Borivoje Nikolic

Founded in 1962, the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship program is unique in its prestige, attracting the most sought-after undergraduate students in the world. The selection, recruitment, and continued mentorship of Regents’ and Chancellor’s scholars actively involves more than 200 dedicated faculty members, for whom I am immensely grateful.

As a faculty interviewer for the program, I hear first-hand the amazing accomplishments and stories of these exceptional students, while also observing their thought processes through engaging discussion. To then mentor and support these same students throughout their Berkeley experience, on to graduation and then continued success throughout their careers is a tremendous privilege.

The efforts of our colleagues, staff, and current scholars have been extremely successful in that over the past several years, we have had consistently high yields. Almost half of the students offered this scholarship choose Berkeley over other top-tier institutions to which they have been admitted. I also take much pride in the fact that we strive to select and recruit a very diverse class of scholars, and this year have achieved the highest yield of historically underrepresented students since the scholarship was founded.

Welcoming about 200 new Regents’ and Chancellor’s scholars each year, the Berkeley campus boasts a community of more than 800 enrolled scholars, making it the largest Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship program in the UC system. Through meaningful engagement with faculty, peers, donors, alumni, and staff, scholars are able to create successful networks that support their academic success, generate future opportunities for career and personal growth, and ensure lifelong affinity for and fidelity to the program.

I look forward to the continued honor of selecting and supporting these exceptional scholars.

Borivoje Nikolic
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Chair of the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship Subcommittee

Among Berkeley's Top Students

Scholarship recipients (from left to right): Alexander Pao, Biatris Bruins, Alexa Phillips, Stella Zhu, and Sean LaBouf

Regents’ and Chancellor’s scholars have served in such notable positions as Student Regent on the University of California Board of Regents, ASUC president, and editor-in-chief of The Daily Californian. Scholars have been chosen as University Medalists and have earned such prestigious awards as the Truman, Marshall, and Rhodes scholarships. Many have gone on to become faculty at prestigious universities, including UC Berkeley, as well as CEOs of global corporations.

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Cal Was the Foundation of My Career

Ankur Luthra, Class of 2002

Coming to Cal as a Regents’ scholar helped me more than financially — it gave me the confidence that I belonged, that those at Cal believed in me, that I could excel here. To a young student leaving a smaller town for a big campus, that confidence was priceless. Cal was the foundation of my career, where I learned both how to think and how to assess things from all angles, including those different from my own. I am forever indebted to Cal, and my years there are among my most fond lifetime memories.

Class of 2002, Double Major in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Business Administration, UC Berkeley University Medalist, Rhodes Scholar, M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Oxford, M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and Asset Portfolio Manager, Balyasny Asset Management, L.P.

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Rare Opportunities and Extraordinary People

Lucky Ding, Class of 2016

For me, the Regents’ and Chancellor’s scholarship has opened doors to rare opportunities and to extraordinary people. As a molecular and cell biology major, I am inspired by the application of science to improve the health of communities. The Regents’ and Chancellor’s scholarship connected me with a faculty mentor, Daniel Nomura in the Department of Nutritional Science & Toxicology. I have been in his lab since freshman year as a research assistant. The opportunity to take part in cancer research as an undergraduate has been incredible. It has taught me to ask questions and seek out the answers, whether it be by learning from those more experienced in the field or by researching the answers for myself. I plan to go into medicine and hope to apply what is discovered at the lab bench to the patient bedside.

It’s also inspiring to get to know the other scholars. The scholars in Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholars Association (RCSA) provide a welcoming family feel within the larger Berkeley community. I have the deepest appreciation for the conversations I have had with my fellow scholars, many of whom have different majors and shared passions for engaging with others to exchange stories and learn from one another.

In these past years I have seen myself transition from a childlike freshman who rarely spoke out in class to a competent — most of the time — and capable adult who is ready for new challenges. This would not have been possible without my seasoned mentors who guide me, my peers who challenge and support me, and the donors who through their tremendous generosity, make this scholarship possible.

Class of 2016, Major in Molecular and Cell Biology with a Focus on Immunology and Co-President, Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholars Association

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Thanks a Million!

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks with scholarship recipients and RCSA co-presidents, Uday Mehta ’16 and Lucky Ding ’16

The Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship program has received its largest endowed gift thanks to the generous contribution of an anonymous, multi-generation Cal family. In recognition and appreciation for the opportunities that Berkeley represents, the family established a million dollar endowed scholarship in 2015, to invest in the future of the state and new generations of California students studying in the College of Letters & Science. The gift received a $100,000 match from Berkeley through the Ruth Johnson Matching Program, enabling the first three scholarships to be awarded this year.

The Ruth Johnson Matching Program supports the creation of 50 undergraduate scholarship endowments of $100,000 or more with a match of the first $100,000. To find out more about the Ruth Johnson Matching Program, please contact George Zeno, executive director of Student Affairs Philanthropy at or 510.642.4811.

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Think Bigger on November 19

Berkeley’s imagination reaches beyond the campus, the state, and the nation. We look out for each other, so we can look out for the world. On Thursday, November 19, you can ensure the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship continues to grow during Big Give, our 24-hour day-of-giving blitz. Join thousands of alumni, students, parents, and friends in showing your passion for Berkeley and support for students.

Help us think bigger on November 19 by making a gift that makes a difference. Use #berkeleystudentsfirst to follow activity on social media.

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New Scholar Welcome Reception at the Chancellor’s House September 3, 2015
First-year scholars were welcomed by Chancellor Dirks; Professor Jill Berrick, chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Scholarships, Honors, and Financial Aid; and the co-presidents of the RCSA. Scholars had the opportunity to meet their esteemed faculty mentors for the first time, marking the beginning of these impactful relationships.

RCSA Career Reception
October 7, 2015
Graduating scholars networked with representatives from a variety of companies, getting a jumpstart on applying for career positions.

Hike with Professor Bakhle
October 17, 2015
In keeping with a popular new tradition, scholars joined renowned historian (and wife of Chancellor Dirks) Janaki Bakhle and her beloved golden labradors for a morning hike.

Berkeley Project Day
October 24, 2015
Scholars participated in this annual event that brings together Berkeley students and community members through hands-on service projects, fostering trust and partnership between the university, the city of Berkeley, and community members.

TEDx Berkeley
February 6, 2016
RCSA scholars are planning and implementing every aspect of this prestigious UC Berkeley event, which brings together inspiring world-changing thinkers, makers, and doers.

Northern California Scholarship Reception
April 13, 2016
Come celebrate with scholarship recipients and Berkeley leadership. Invitations and event details forthcoming by mail in the new year.

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Save the Date!

Invitations with location information will be forthcoming in the new year.

Friday, February 26, 2016, 7–9 p.m.
Regents’ and Chancellor’s Alumni Dinner — San Diego

Saturday, February 27, 2016, 5–7 p.m.
Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholars’ Parents Reception
— San Diego

Friday, March 11, 2016,
7–9 p.m.

Regents’ and Chancellor’s Alumni Dinner — Los Angeles

Saturday, March 12, 2016, 5–7 p.m.
Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholars’ Parents Reception
— Los Angeles

Saturday, April 2, 2016, 4–6 p.m.
Regents’ and Chancellor’s Alumni Networking Reception — Berkeley