Library Board president, alumni group awarded for serving UC Berkeley community

Charlene Conrad Liebau is the Library Board president.
Charlene Conrad Liebau is the Library Board president. (UC Berkeley Library)

The UC Berkeley Library Board’s president and a distinguished alumni group have been recognized for their work serving the UC Berkeley community — and helping keep Berkeley’s light shining brightly well into the future.

This year, Charlene Conrad Liebau ’60, president of the Library Board, was one of three recipients of the Spirit of 1868 Volunteer Award. The Chinese Chapter of the California Alumni Association was named as the recipient of the Loyal Company Outstanding Volunteer Group award.

A tireless advocate

Liebau joined the Library Board in 2000 and became president in 2010. While in that role, Liebau has reorganized and re-energized the board, transforming it into an active group with a sharp focus on fundraising. She also has recruited new board members, particularly alumni from Southern California. As a member of the board’s donor relations committee, she sends handwritten notes to recent donors, and hosts events to educate the community on how the Library is serving Berkeley scholars in the 21st century.

In addition to her work and advocacy, she has established the Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research, which honors students for their work on research projects that draw heavily on the Library’s resources.

Along with her work at the Library, Liebau is a volunteer reader for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, reviewing and scoring more than a thousand undergraduate applications each year.

Tour of EAL
Curator Deborah Rudolph, front right, leads members of the Chinese Chapter of the California Alumni Association on a tour of the C. V. Starr East Asian Library this spring. (Photo by Jami Smith for the UC Berkeley Library)

A history of service

Founded in 1936, the Chinese Chapter of the California Alumni Association is among the oldest and most distinguished chapters of the California Alumni Association, having previously been named the Alumni Chapter of the Year five times.

With 2,000 members, the group has raised more scholarship funds than any other California Alumni Association chapter. The group helped raise $500,000 to fund the construction of the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, or EAL, and Chang-Lin Tien Center for East Asian Studies. A fortress of white granite, bronze, and glass, EAL was the first building on the continent built exclusively to house an East Asian collection. (This year, EAL celebrated its 10th anniversary in its new home.)

Former Chinese Chapter President Bak Chan ’70, M.B.A. ’79 served on the 10th anniversary host committee and helped showcase EAL with a special tour and viewing of rare collections earlier this year, and many donors have since renewed their support.

The chapter was also a key organizer of the Berkeley China Summit, with the goal of connecting China’s businesses and investors with world-class experts in technology, engineering, and business at Berkeley and in the Bay Area.

The awards will be presented on Oct. 12 at 5 p.m., during Reunion and Parents Weekend.