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.”