College of Chemistry breaks ground on new state-of-the-art building – Heathcock Hall

May 6, 2024

Benefactors and leaders at Heathcock Hall groundbreaking

Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small

UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry celebrated the groundbreaking of its new research and teaching facility, Heathcock Hall, on Thursday, May 2, surrounded by staff, faculty, advisory board members, international benefactors, and even Oski the Bear. The event marked a key milestone towards creating a vibrant hub for new highly interdisciplinary research and education.

As a result of a cornerstone gift of philanthropy from alumnus Terry Rosen (PhD, Chemistry ‘85) and family, Heathcock Hall will be named in honor of renowned organic chemist, former Dean of the College of Chemistry, and Terry’s research director, Clayton H. Heathcock.

Reinvigorating the campus’ eastern gateway, the roughly 80,000 square foot building will attract rising leaders from around the world to the chemical sciences. It will contain six stories of modern laboratory space to accommodate research in synthetic chemistry, physical chemistry, and chemical and biomolecular engineering. It is the College’s first new building project since the completion of Tan Hall in 1997.

The modular, environmentally efficient, state-of-the art facility was brought to life by architectural firm HOK, and will have views of the Campanile, Memorial Glade and the San Francisco Bay.

Rendering of Heathcock Hall

Rendering of Heathcock Hall, courtesy of HOK Architects

“The Chemistry program has a long and storied history at the University of California, Berkeley. We are honored to collaborate with the faculty and leadership to design a thoughtful new addition to this renowned campus,” said Paul Woolford, FAIA, Design Principal with HOK.

Among the attendees was Chancellor Carol Christ, who acknowledged the generosity that brought the project to life.

“We truly couldn’t have gotten to this point without the generous support of Terry, Clayton and the college’s generous benefactors, many of whom are here today,” she said. “In many ways, Heathcock Hall reflects the current state of higher education, which has become more expansive than ever before. We’re charged with preparing our students for a world that is increasingly interconnected and where the pace of change has quickened.”

Terry Rosen (PhD, Chemistry ‘85)

Photo: Terry Rosen, PhD, Chemistry ‘85; by Brittany Hosea-Small

The groundbreaking also included remarks from Doug Clark, Dean of the college.

“For more than 150 years, many of the most promising discoveries across the disciplines of chemistry and chemical engineering have emerged in the halls of the College of Chemistry,” he said, in his opening remarks. “Imagine a world where these scholars have even greater flexibility and freedom to advance highly innovative, translational science resulting in new, exciting discoveries.”

Dean’s Dinner celebrates Doug Clark’s 11-year tenure

Following the historic groundbreaking event, guests were invited to the University Club at Cal Memorial Stadium for the annual Dean’s Dinner to celebrate the college community.

There, guests enjoyed a program that included a celebration of the College’s future and Doug Clark’s tenure as dean.Two very special Dean’s Medals were also presented – a new tradition implemented by Dean Clark, who will step down as Dean after an eleven year tenure. The first medal was presented to John Prausnitz, emeritus professor of chemical engineering, and the second to Chancellor Christ.

Doug Clark and John Prausnitz

Photo: Dean Doug Clark and John Prausnitz; by Brittany Hosea-Small

Advisory board member Ron Silva closed out the evening with a final toast, reflecting, “I truly believe we have the spirit of sacrifice [at the College of Chemistry] that says we are going to pass knowledge on to the next generation. And it cannot be exemplified more than in the character of my good friend, Dean Clark.”

Guests parted with a gift from the dean – a book detailing the college’s 150 year history.