Four Generations, One College

“I’ve been involved with agriculture all my life,” said Burton Anderson, ’49. Anderson is the second of four generations of his family members who have received degrees from the College of Natural Resources in its various incarnations over the years.

Burton Anderson and Jeffrey Hartmeier at the 2011 graduation ceremonies. PHOTO: Courtesy of Burton Anderson
Peter Anderson was the coxswain on the Cal crew team in 1979. PHOTO: Courtesy of Burton Anderson
Thomas Tavernetti, who was a scout leader in his spare time. PHOTO: Courtesy of Burton Anderson

Raised on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, Anderson spent much of his career as a department head for grower and shipper Bruce Church, Inc. He has written four books related to agriculture and the Salinas Valley, and is now on CNR’s advisory board.

He was following in the footsteps of his uncle, Thomas F. Tavernetti, ’13, who worked in agriculture education all his life, including as a member of the original faculty at UC Davis, and later served as the assistant dean of the College of Agriculture in Berkeley — CNR’s precursor — from 1926 until his untimely death in 1934.

Anderson’s son and grandson are both interested in agricultural economics and the business side of agriculture. Peter Anderson, ’79, came to Berkeley when the College of Agriculture and the College of Forestry were combined to form the College of Natural Resources. “I entered Cal at a time when protecting natural resources was beginning to be in vogue,” Peter Anderson said. He majored in the political economy of natural resources, and now works, as his father did, on the business side of an international produce company. “My father influenced what I wanted to do greatly. Agriculture was part of my family and I knew that I wanted to be a part of that world.”

Jeffrey Hartmeier, ’11, Burton Anderson’s grandson and the family’s most recent CNR graduate, majored in genetics and plant biology doubled with environmental economics and policy. Less than a year out of school, he’s now working for Anheuser-Busch to gain management experience and is planning to pursue an MBA. Asked why he thought the College has been at the center of his family’s education, Hartmeier said the answer lies in “a true passion for the University and for CNR. We all truly believe that there is no second to it.”