Dick Beahrs helps launch the Campaign for Natural Resources
Few individuals have done more for the College of Natural Resources than Dick Beahrs, History '68. As a fierce advocate, trusted advisor, and philanthropist and fundraiser alike, Beahrs was a natural fit to chair CNR's Campaign for Natural Resources as the College reaches for its ambitious, $72 million goal.
Beahrs has served on CNR's Advisory Board for nearly two decades and has been a deeply involved partner in a great number of Berkeley's global programs. He is well known for pushing programs to make the biggest possible impact with the resources they have. So Breakthroughs asked him: Why have you invested your time, energy, and financial support in Berkeley? Why CNR?
Beyond the obvious - extraordinary faculty and students and a deep commitment to its public mission - Beahrs says "the University has proven it can be very creative in achieving important goals."
"For a long time," says Beahrs, "I hoped the University could be more involved internationally, and work with people from around the world on solving seemingly intractable problems." He first became interested in international development issues while on a three-month sojourn across Africa with his wife, Carolyn, in 1971. "We were fascinated by Africa and the development challenges its people face," he says - and has taken every opportunity he could to return. Like many schoars, leaders, and partners within and outside of the University, Beahrs was eager to see Berkeley address global challenges by developing a more interdisciplinary focus.
"The very good news," says Beahrs, "is that many exciting programs have been initiated at CNR and across the Berkeley campus."
That was certainly the case in 2001 when David Zilberman, professor of agricultural and resource economics, first proposed developing a unique new program in sustainable international development. That project, funded with a generous gift from Dick and Carolyn Beahrs, would go on to become the enormously successful Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program. "David Zilberman and co-director Robin Marsh did a spectacular job, not only developing the program, but also listening to concerns and ideas from a wide range of people," says Beahrs. "It has been a fabulous partnership."
Such partnerships are critical to sustaining the excellence that defines Berkeley.
"There can be important interfaces between private support and public institutions," says Beahrs. His career, for example, focused on new-business development - launching new cable networks including Cinemax, the Comedy Channel, and Court TV. "But the world doesn't turn on whether we have a new TV network or a new potato chip," he says. "So I am thrilled to bring my interest in innovation to work with the extraordinary individuals at Berkeley as the University strives to address the great issues of our time."
For his part, Beahrs is eager to help lead the Campaign for Natural Resources. "In perilous times it is more important than ever to think expansively," he says. "We are talking about major issues that can galvanize support, and there is too big of an opportunity cost for not setting our goals high."
To learn how you can become a part of the Campaign for Natural Resources, call Kathryn Moriarty Baldwin at 510-643-6641.