A community is defined by the heroes it chooses to celebrate. We invite you to join the EECS department in recognizing a previously overlooked hero, Berkeley EE Prof. Joseph T. Gier, the University of California’s first tenured Black professor.
Raised in Oakland by a single mother, Gier came to Berkeley as an undergraduate in 1930, and earned two degrees (B.S. ME ’33 and M.Eng. ’40) before becoming an EE lecturer in 1944, associate professor with tenure in 1952, and full professor in 1958. He was a world authority on thermal and luminous radiation, and an inventor of devices used in the early days of aerospace exploration and solar power harvesting. He was also said to be an extraordinary teacher and role model during a period of deep national segregation and social unrest.
We have commissioned artist Dana King to create a bronze monument representing Gier and his contributions to ensure that his profound legacy is restored to the life of the Berkeley campus, and to permanently establish him as a mainstay in our cultural narrative. We hope to raise $150K to fund the creation, installation and upkeep of the sculpture, which will be placed at the entrance of Blum Hall.