Chang-Lin Tien

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Chang-lin Tien (traditional Chinese: 田長霖; simplified Chinese: 田长霖; pinyin: Tián Chánglín) (24 July 1935 – 29 October 2002) was a Chinese American professor of mechanical engineering and university administrator. He was the eighth Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley (1990–1997), the first Asian to head a major university in the United States.



Early years

Born in Wuhan, China, Tien and his family fled to Taiwan in 1949 at the end of the Chinese Civil War. He earned a BS in mechanical engineering from the National Taiwan University in 1955 and went on to a fellowship at the University of Louisville in 1956, where he received an MME in heat transfer in 1957. He then earned his MA and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1959.


Tien joined UC Berkeley faculty as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in 1959, and three years later, at the age of 26, became the youngest professor ever to be honored with UC Berkeley's Distinguished Teaching Award. He was promoted to full professor in 1968 and served as the Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1974-81. From 1983-85, he served as vice chancellor of research. Tien spent his entire career at Berkeley, except for 1988–90 when he was executive vice-chancellor of UC Irvine. In 1999, Tien received the prestigious title of "University Professor".

Tien was an expert in thermal science and researched on thermal radiation, thermal insulation, microscale thermal phenomena, fluid flow, phase-change energy transfer, heat pipes, reactor safety, cryogenics, and fire phenomena, authoring more than 300 research journal and monograph articles, 16 edited volumes, and one book.

As chancellor, Tien was a leading supporter of affirmative action. After the Regents's 1995 ban of using of racial preferences in university admissions, Tien launched the "Berkeley Pledge," an outreach program designed to recruit disadvantaged students from the state's public schools. Amid an 18% budget cut, Tien launched "The Promise of Berkeley — Campaign for the New Century," a fundraising drive that raised $1.44 billion.

Known for his "Go Bears!" spirit, Tien was very popular with students, often showing up at student rallies and sporting events wearing his "Cal" baseball cap. He was not uncommonly sighted picking up trash in Sproul Plaza, appearing in the library in the middle of the night during finals week, or checking up on students in the residence halls and classrooms.

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