Berkeley’s building Around campus, there’s an old joke
Built in the 1920s, Bowles sits on a hill
that the “UC” in UC Berkeley stands
near Memorial Stadium and boasts
for “under construction.” And for good
Gothic arches and a square turret. After
reason — more often than not, a crane
a $40 million renovation project, it
or construction workers can be seen
has now reopened as a residential
somewhere at Cal, a testament to the
college for undergrads, plus three
university’s endless efforts to expand and
graduate students and two professors —
upgrade its facilities.
a housemaster and a dean.
With several projects nearing completion, Original donor Mary Bowles envisioned The Promise of Berkeley takes a look at
the hall as more than “a mere boarding
three new — or newly refurbished —
house where men would eat and sleep but
spots on campus that enhance the visitor
... a home.” That vision faded over the
and student experience.
years — by the mid-1970s, key features such as student governance had ended,
Cal’s answer to Hogwarts
and on-site dining left in 2000. “When they told us in 2005 that it had become a freshmen-only dorm,” says former resident Bob Sayles ’52, “we just
This fall, nearly 200 Berkeley
couldn’t square it with our remembrance undergraduates moved into the renovated of what the Bowles experience once Bowles Hall (pictured below), which was.” Sayles and fellow Bowles alumni bears more than a passing resemblance
spearheaded the push to revive it as a
to residential colleges at Cambridge and
Oxford — with a touch of Hogwarts from Harry Potter for good measure.
The Promise of Berkeley