Article Type: Donor Profile
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Dean’s Advisory Council
The Dean’s Advisory Council — an evolution of the CED Alumni (CEDA) board of directors which had served the college since 1990 — has grown to a diverse group of 26 alumni and friends who act as close advisors to the dean and ambassadors of the college.
“I appreciate CED’s focus on designing an integrated educational experience that acknowledges the critically important challenges associated with shaping the environment, whether through physical or policy means, as the world becomes ever smaller. I am honored to be part of the Dean’s Advisory Committee and am happy to support the work at CED through this involvement.”
— Lydia Tan, B.Arch ’83
Senior Vice President, Development for the Western U.S., Bentall Kennedy
Members of the Dean’s Advisory Council — which include such notable alumni as San Francisco Foundation CEO Fred Blackwell, Johnson Fain founders Scott Johnson and William Fain, SPUR Executive Director Gabriel Metcalf, Walt Disney Company Director of Health Management Barbara Wachsman, and SWA Group Chairman John Wong — represent a range of professions and geographies and comprise not only graduates from the three departments within CED, but also notable leaders from outside the college. The Council was originally chaired by Bob Lalanne and the current chair is Sylvia Kwan. Membership in the Dean’s Advisory Council is by invitation of the dean of the college.
While Advisory Council members pledge an annual contribution to the CED Annual Fund during their three-year term of service, their greater impact comes from bringing their professional expertise to help CED leadership shape activities, programs, and facility development; and inspiring others in the CED family to make contributions in support of these endeavors.
Advisory Council members generously give their time and talent, often going above and beyond, with significant in-kind and pro-bono support to build the CED community, help students, and aid the dean in making improvements to Wurster Hall. Maintaining and nurturing the CED community is essential to the prosperity of the college. Members in New York and Los Angeles go out of their way to coordinate or host both intimate events and large-scale programs, allowing alumni outside the Bay Area to network and continue their relationship with CED.
“The Dean’s Advisory Council is a tremendous way for me to remain connected to Berkeley — important both personally and professionally as a way to keep Disney on the cutting edge of architecture, urban/environmental planning. Having direct exposure to Dean Wolch and other Cal faculty is an absolute dream and allows me to remain up to date about Cal and my professional community. We love to hire Wurster grads at Disney and the Council is a great way to stay informed about what that next generation’s values and interests are.”
— Barbara Wachsman, M.C.P. ’83
Director of Health Management, The Walt Disney Company
Providing professional internships within their firms and supporting internship programs is another endeavor where Council members are an invaluable resource. Internships programs, such as CED’s On-SITE, allow students to enhance their education with practical hands-on experience in firms while introducing these organizations to some of the brightest and most determined design students soon to enter the market. Advisory Council members also enrich the student experience by conveying their knowledge and professional expertise through accepting faculty invitations to speak at classes, participate in reviews, or by making the significant financial commitment to sponsor a studio course.
Generous pro-bono and financial contributions by Advisory Council members ensure that Wurster Hall facilities meet the needs of current and future students and faculty. Members have played an important role in helping improve Wurster Hall — contributing to the Gallery, first and second-floor lobbies, Flex Studios, and the Digital Fabrication Lab which houses new digitally controlled equipment. The new Materials Store, where CED students can purchase fabrication supplies, was also realized through the generous financial support of a Council member.
One of the most essential contributions the Advisory Council makes is in supporting the dean in strategic planning. Members played an active role in developing the 2012 Strategic Plan, supporting the implementation of a road map that will be the touchstone for planning and fundraising for the next 5 to 10 years.
In addition to their fundraising support for several key initiatives built into the strategic plan such as Flex Studios — the campaign to update Wurster’s studios with multiple platforms for creativity, research, and design collaboration — the Dean’s Advisory Council is also called upon to encourage others to give to the CED Annual Fund.
Over the last several years, this group’s commitment to the CED Fund has made a significant difference to the college. An essential resource as CED faces critical issues that challenge today’s public educational institutions, the CED Fund provides the college with crucial support for a variety of activities, including educational programming and opportunities such as lectures, exhibits, and international studios; the research efforts of our outstanding junior faculty; and CED’s Career Services, an office dedicated to helping our students launch their professional careers.
Contributors of $1000 or more to the CED Fund become members of the Wurster Society. For the past three decades, members of the Wurster Society have provided leadership gifts to meet high-priority needs and to allow CED to capitalize on unexpected opportunities.
“I am honored to serve on the Dean’s CED Council in an effort to stay engaged and help support the Wurster Hall community. I owe so much of my own success to Berkeley and CED that it is a pleasure to help sustain its great future.”
— Vishaan Chakrabarti, M.Arch ’96
Principal, SHoP Architects, Professor, Columbia University
“We applaud the incredible efforts that the Dean’s Advisory Council has made on behalf of CED, the successes they’ve achieved, and their essential role in helping ensure that the college can meet the needs of current and future students” said CED Dean Jennifer Wolch. “The personal friendships that develop from Advisory Council collaborations are one of most rewarding aspects of my service as dean.”
“Being a part a of the Dean’s advisory committee is both an honor and fulfilling. It gives me an opportunity to stay connected to the school in a meaningful way and make a contribution to its continued success. Jennifer’s leadership has been great for the school and I am grateful for the opportunity to help.”
— Fred Blackwell, M.C.P. ’96
CEO, San Francisco Foundation
Current members of the Dean’s Advisory Council include:
- Kofi Bonner, Regional Vice President, Lennar Urban
- Fred Blackwell, CEO, San Francisco Foundation
- Ricardo L. Capretta, President, Capretta Properties Inc.
- Vishaan Chakrabarti, Principal, SHoP Architects/Holliday Professor of Real Estate, Columbia University
- James R. Crawford, Partner, Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP
- Brian Dougherty, Founder, Dougherty and Dougherty Architecture
- Gray B. Dougherty, Partner, Dougherty and Dougherty Architecture
- William Fain, Founder, Johnson Fain
- David Friedman, Principal and Chairman, Forell/Elsesser Engineers
- Jhaelen Hernandez-Eli, Founder, Hernandez-Eli Architects
- Jackson Hsieh, Vice Chairman of Investment Banking, Morgan Stanley
- Scott Johnson, Founder, Johnson Fain
- Chris Kent, Principal, PGA Design
- Sylvia P. Kwan, Founder, Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning
- Michael Lin, Financial Advisor, Ameriprise Financial Services
- Tom Mead, Vice President of Construction Management, Equity Residential
- Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director, SPUR
- Michael Painter, President, MPA Design
- Lydia Tan, Senior Vice President, Development for the Western U.S., Bentall Kennedy
- Barbara Wachsman, Director of Health Management, The Walt Disney Company
- Judd Williams
- John Wong, Managing Principal and Chairman, SWA Group
- Joseph O. Wong, Founding Principal, JWDA
- Paul Woolford, Design Director, Helmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK)
“I have really enjoyed contributing to the Dean’s Advisory Council. In return it has given me a lot. My understanding of the college’s educational focus has been broadened and clarified. I also have a much better appreciation of the expertise of the faculty. After each meeting/event I find my mind spinning with ideas — reminiscent of being a student again.”
— Chris Kent, M.L.A ’93
Principal, PGA Design
“The Advisory Council exposes me to the accomplishments of CED’s faculty and students, as well as the college’s initiatives and aspirations; it’s invigorating. I am emboldened to make meaningful contributions to the professional trajectory of our young alumni and strengthen the CED community in New York, where I practice.”
— Jhaelen Hernandez-Eli, B.Arch ’02
Founder, Hernandez-Eli Architects
“The UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design is of vital importance to our Northern California design community; it creates a place for critical thinking and discourse, and fills our design studios with emerging talent. Our practices depend upon UCB to fill this role, and as such it’s been a privilege to serve on the Dean’s Council at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. It’s an honor to be able to give something back in return.”
— — Paul Woolford
Craig Allison: Constructing the Future
What Craig Allison (M.Arch ’74) came to learn when he entered the construction field over 40 years ago, is how much influence the construction team actually has on what gets built. “Being trained as architects, we tend to think that designers have by far the greatest influence on a building, when the reality is that the owners who decide what they want to build and the contractors who help figure out whether they can afford it or not have a very large impact,” Allison explains. “I found I can participate in the process just as effectively from the construction side as I could have from the architectural side and maybe more so.”
Craig Allison is co-general partner of Plant Construction Company, L.P. In his 33 years with the firm, he and his company have been responsible for the development and renovation of some of San Francisco’s most iconic historic buildings, including the Ferry Building, the Flood Building on Market Street, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and the Presidio Landmark.
Allison emphasizes that Plant specializes in customers rather than building types. One of those customers is UC Berkeley for whom Plant is now managing construction on the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Slated to complete in January 2016, the complex integrates the campus’s long-shuttered downtown Berkeley printing plant with a new structure extending north to Addison. The collaboration between the city and the campus, along with the challenge of the design — including knitting together three separate structures and the stringent environmental controls required in a museum — make this a uniquely complicated project. Allison stresses that the teamwork and cooperation between the city, the university, the architect — Diller Scofidio + Renfro — and the Plant team has been extremely good. “That’s what determines whether we enjoy our job or not,” he notes. “It’s less to do with what we’re building and more to do with who we’re working with and how we’re cooperating.”
Since the age of five, Allison has always been interested in building things. A native of California whose parents both attended Berkeley, the architecture department at CED just made sense. Following early project management positions with Bay Area construction and development firms, Allison joined Plant in 1981.
Architectural training and exposure carries advantages in the construction trade. Allison explains, “A contractor’s job is often to hold the line on the costs of the project. If you understand the architectural goals as well as the owner’s needs you can balance those things better. I think my background gives me a decent understanding of what the design of any given project is trying to accomplish.”
Today, Craig Allison concentrates on a few projects with long-term Plant clients and managing the overall partnership along with co-partner David Plant. Deeply committed to seeing the company succeed, he is focused on structuring the company or future generations — an obligation he finds deeply rewarding.
This year, Plant Construction Company made a generous gift to CED to establish the Plant Construction Company, L.P. Undergraduate Fund. Matched by the Haas Public Service and Leadership Scholarship Challenge, the purpose of the fund is to encourage those promising hard-working students most in need of a boost. The gift was inspired by a recently retired Plant employee of 40 years, Eugene Hom, who worked his way up from apprentice carpenter just out of high school to become senior project manager on some of the company’s most prominent projects. The fund rewards that effort. “If he had had the educational opportunities afforded to others, there isn’t anything that he couldn’t have accomplished.”
Gregg Perloff: Enlivening the Urban Experience
While, today, urban planning journals are filled with evidence substantiating the impact of arts and culture on cities, it was certainly not the case when Gregg Perloff (MCP, ’76) was a graduate student in the 70’s at the College of Environmental Design’s Department of City & Regional Planning.
Driven to understand this inter-relationship, in spite of some pushback for wanting to color outside the lines of what were then considered legitimate fields of urban planning study, Perloff persevered with the help of faculty like Melvin Webber, then director of Berkeley’s Institute of Urban and Regional Development.
It is not a stretch to see the path that led him to where he is today — head of one of the most influential entertainment companies on the West Coast and one of the key people responsible for the revitalization of downtown Oakland through the rebirth of the historic Fox Theater. By coloring outside the lines, Perloff expanded the palette that enlivens the Bay Area’s urban fabric.
As the son of Harvey S. Perloff, founding Dean of the Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UCLA, an appreciation for environmental design was perhaps inevitable.
“On vacations we’d be travelling to see a geodesic dome or to see a greenbelt around London. Other people are going to Hawaii and we were going to see the first solar home in Colorado,” he recounts.
Gregg Perloff swears that “it never occurred to me that I would make my living putting on concerts” but as an undergraduate at UCLA, and as a graduate student at Berkeley producing music events for SUPERB, he had something of a knack. After graduation, he convinced Betty Connors at the Committee for Arts and Lectures (now Cal Performances) to let him book concerts. Bringing in jazz greats such as Oscar Peterson, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and Boz Scaggs caught the attention of legendary promoter Bill Graham and in 1977, just one year after completing his degree, Perloff was hired by Graham. He eventually took over as CEO of Bill Graham Presents in 1991.
In 2003, Perloff launched Another Plant Entertainment in Berkeley. The company books hundreds concerts a year, from world-renowned groups like Radiohead to local independent bands, and is responsible for producing the wildly successful Outlands Music & Arts Festival in Golden Gate Park, which in its first four years contributed over $4.3 million to San Francisco’s Recreation & Parks Department.
But it is the success of the Fox Theater and its significance as a hallmark of urban revitalization that makes Perloff light up.
Closed for over 40 years, the Fox managed to survive the devastating blight that overtook downtown Oakland. Primarily responsible for the design of the theater and the vision for what was needed to attract significant audiences, Perloff and Another Planet worked with developer Phil Tagami, as well as dozens of other public and private development, planning, and financing entities to help realize then-Mayor Jerry Brown’s dream to revitalize downtown. The Fox and its adjoining Oakland School for the Arts are now the centerpiece of the thriving Uptown District.
“We opened the Fox and it’s the most successful theater in the Bay Area,” explains Perloff. “But how do you judge success? Well, we sell a lot of tickets. You also have success when the Oakland School of the Arts, in the first graduating class, places 100% of the students in a 4-year college or university. This is an Oakland public school – that’s pretty spectacular.”
Since 2004, Perloff’s company has also been the exclusive promoter for Berkeley’s 8,500-capacity Greek Theater. As a venue known throughout the world, he considers it a privilege to work with the legendary outdoor amphitheater. Hoping to “set up the Greek for its next 100 years” Perloff is currently involved with master planning to improve the theater’s public areas.
Berkeley holds special meaning for Gregg Perloff and he is grateful to CED for allowing him to follow his heart. In 1999, Gregg and his wife Laura established the Harvey S. Perloff Memorial Endowment Fund in memory of Perloff’s father, to support graduate students in the Department of City and Regional Planning.
In December of 2013, another generous gift from the Perloffs established the Gregg and Laura Perloff Graduate Student Excellence Award so that graduate students like Gregg, doing “off-center” work, have the resources to follow their passion in one of the world’s premier graduate programs in urban planning.