C. Judson King, 2011
Photo courtesy of Michael Barnes
C. Judson King: A Career in Chemical Engineering and University Administration, 1963 – 2013
Conducted by Lisa Rubens and Emily Redman, with Sam Redman, in 2011, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of
California, Berkeley, 2013.
Jud King is a distinguished chemical engineer, holding 14 patents, who brought an engineer’s creative and problem-solving abilities to a succession of academic and administrative positions—including Provost and Senior Vice-President of the UC system. This wide-ranging and richly detailed interview takes us from King's pioneering research and the growth of his discipline, to the governance, decision-making process, political constraints and the personalities at Berkeley and the University of California system-wide over the last half-century.
King joined UC Berkeley’s Department of Chemical Engineering in 1963, just as the campus became a center of student rebellion and questioning of the role of the University in society. As a professor, author, consultant to industry, and leader of numerous professional associations, King also assumed a series of increasingly complex administrative posts, including Dean of Berkeley’s storied College of Chemistry and then Provost of Professional Schools and Colleges where he oversaw the creation of the School of Information Management and Systems and led the decommissioning of a nuclear reactor.
At the Office of the UC President, beginning in 1994, his portfolio was massive. He tackled some of the thorniest issues facing the University, such as restructuring undergraduate admission after the end of affirmative action, renewing contracts for UC’s national labs, and the restructuring of UC Press. He returned to the Berkeley campus in 2005 as Director of the Center for Studies in Higher Education, also serving as Interim Director of the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, where he helped achieve a consensus on the issue of returning Native American remains.
King concludes his oral history discussing the future of UC in an era of declining legislative support, his current efforts to reform engineering education, and his continued service as an advisor to such institutions as the National Laboratory of China, the University of Armenia, the National Research Council and the California Council on Science and Technology.