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Bob Berdahl

Bob Berdahl

University president | Texas, '93-'97; Cal, '97-'04 | Class of 1961

He was president of the University of Texas, chancellor at Cal-Berkeley, a doctoral student at Minnesota and a history major at UMass. 

In all his stops, Bob Berdahl has never seen a sight quite like the one that awaited him when he first stepped foot inside the UI’s Undergraduate Library as a master’s student fresh out of Augustana. 

"I was awed by the library, then the third-largest academic library in the United States. I was struck by the incredible investment in learning that the library represented for the state of Illinois," says Berdahl, who had two terms at the UI — one as a grad student (1959-61), the other as a professor/vice chancellor for academic affairs (1986-93). 

"Upon receiving my graduate ID card, which granted me access to the Stacks, I went into the Stacks to browse the collection of books and journals in fields in which I was interested.

“After spending several hours wandering up and down the Stacks, I became lost because couldn’t remember the level of the exit. It struck me as a metaphor of a student wandering awestruck in the world of learning.”