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Chang-Lin Tien

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Chang-Lin Tien
Seventh Chancellor of the
University of California, Berkeley
In office
Preceded byIra Michael Heyman
Succeeded byRobert M. Berdahl
Personal details
Born(1935-07-24)July 24, 1935
Wuhan, Hubei, Republic of China
DiedOctober 29, 2002(2002-10-29) (aged 67)
Redwood City, California, U.S.
SpouseDi-Hwa Liu (劉棣華)
Alma mater
ProfessionMechanical engineer, professor
Known forThermal science
Scientific career
FieldsMechanical engineering
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Berkeley
ThesisTransport processes in two-phase turbulent flow (1959)

Chang-lin Tien GBM (traditional Chinese: 田長霖; simplified Chinese: 田长霖; pinyin: Tián Chánglín; July 24, 1935 – October 29, 2002) was a Chinese-American professor of mechanical engineering and university administrator. He was the seventh chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley (1990–1997), and in that capacity was the first person of Asian descent to head a major research university in the United States.[1]



Early years


Born in Huangpi, Hubei, China, Tien and his family fled to Taiwan in 1949 at the end of the Chinese Civil War. He earned a BS in mechanical engineering from the National Taiwan University in 1955 and went on to a fellowship at the University of Louisville in 1956, where he received an MME in heat transfer in 1957. He then earned his MA and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1959.[2]



Tien joined UC Berkeley faculty as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in 1959, and three years later, at the age of 26, became the youngest professor ever to be honored with UC Berkeley's Distinguished Teaching Award.[3] He was promoted to full professor in 1968 and served as the chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1974 to 1981. From 1983 to 1985, he served as vice chancellor of research. Tien spent his entire career at Berkeley, except for 1988–90 when he was executive vice-chancellor of UC Irvine. In 1999, Tien received the prestigious title of "University Professor".[4]

Tien was an expert in thermal science and researched on thermal radiation, thermal insulation, microscale thermal phenomena, fluid flow, phase-change energy transfer, heat pipes, reactor safety, cryogenics, and fire phenomena,[4] authoring more than 300 research journal and monograph articles, 16 edited volumes, and one book.[5] Up until 2005, his work was posthumously published in the Annual Review of Heat Transfer.[6]

As chancellor, Tien was a leading supporter of affirmative action. After the Regents banned the use of racial preferences in 1995 for university admissions, Tien launched the "Berkeley Pledge," an outreach program designed to recruit disadvantaged students from the state's public schools. Amid an 18% budget cut, Tien launched "The Promise of Berkeley – Campaign for the New Century", a fundraising drive that raised $1.44 billion.[4] In December 1996, President Bill Clinton put him on the shortlist of candidates for United States Secretary of Energy, but Tien was removed after the Chinese campaign finance scandal made headlines; the unsealed Federal Bureau of Investigation file for Tien showed he had been investigated as a potential foreign agent as early as 1973, but no evidence ever was found to support this assumption.[7]

Known for his "Go Bears!" spirit, Tien was very popular with students, often showing up at student rallies and sporting events wearing his "Cal" baseball cap. He was commonly seen picking up trash in Sproul Plaza, appearing in the library in the middle of the night during finals week, or checking up on students in the residence halls and classrooms.[4][7]

After stepping down from the chancellorship in 1997, Tien was appointed to the National Science Board and the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century in 1999.[8][9] He was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2000 and suffered a stroke during surgery to treat it, prompting his resignation in 2001.[7]

Tien was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Academia Sinica (in Taiwan), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (in mainland China).

Personal life


During his residency in the United States, Tien became an American citizen.[4]

Shortly before instruction for the 1992–93 academic year started, a young woman named Rosebud Denovo was killed by police after she broke into University House, the chancellor's residence, during an apparent assassination attempt. Tien and his family were unharmed.[10]

Tien died in Redwood City, California at the age of 67. A brain tumor had forced him into hospitalization two years earlier; while hospitalized, he suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered. He was survived by his wife Di-Hwa, his son Norman Tien, currently Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Hong Kong since June 2012, and daughters Christine Tien, Stockton's deputy city manager, and Dr. Phyllis Tien, a UC San Francisco physician.[4][11]


The Tien Center for East Asian Studies is housed in the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at UC Berkeley (2013)
  • Asian Pacific Fund's Chang-Lin Tien Award.


  1. ^ Gardner, David Pierpont (2005). Earning My Degree: Memoirs of an American University President. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 240. ISBN 9780520931114. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  2. ^ Tien, Chang-lin (1959). Transport processes in two-phase turbulent flow (Ph.D.). Princeton University. OCLC 8624934 – via ProQuest.
  3. ^ Yang, Henry T.Y. (2005). "Memories of Chang-Lin Tien". Annual Review of Heat Transfer. 14 (40): 9–11. doi:10.1615/AnnualRevHeatTransfer.v14.40.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Chang-Lin Tien, UC Berkeley chancellor from 1990–97 and an internationally known engineering scholar, dies at age 67" (Press release). UC Berkeley. October 30, 2002. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  5. ^ The Chang-Lin Tien Center for East Asian Studies
  6. ^ "Annual Review of Heat Transfer". Begell House. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Karlamangla, Soumya (October 29, 2012). "Tracking UC Berkeley's former chancellor Chang-Lin Tien". The Daily Californian. Retrieved January 3, 2023.
  8. ^ "Statement by the Press Secretary" (Press release). The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. July 29, 1999. Retrieved January 3, 2023.
  9. ^ Sanders, Robert (August 23, 1999). "Former UC Berkeley Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien joins national panels on science and education policy" (Press release). University of California, Berkeley Public Information Office. Retrieved January 3, 2023.
  10. ^ Gross, Jane (August 26, 1992). "Police Kill Protester at Berkeley in Break-in at Chancellor's Home". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  11. ^ "Obituary — Chang-Lin Tien (1935–2002): a chancellor's extraordinary legacy" (PDF). Forefront. College of Engineering, University of California at Berkeley. Spring 2003. pp. 2–3. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 13, 2005.
  12. ^ "Minor Planet Named After Major Campus Star". Berkeleyan. November 3, 1999. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  13. ^ "3643 Tienchanglin (1978 UN2)". JPL Small-Body Database Browser. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  14. ^ IMO number9174220
  15. ^ "Chevron Mega Tanker Chang-Lin Tien to Ply the Seas". Berkeleyan. February 2, 2000. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  16. ^ "Chang-Lin Tien". Auke Visser's International Super Tankers. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  17. ^ "Berkeley Landmarks :: Haviland Hall & Tien Center". berkeleyheritage.com. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
Academic offices
Preceded by Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley
Succeeded by