Former UC Regent, Haas Adjunct Professor William Coblentz Dies

Attorney William Coblentz, BA 43 (Econ.), a former UC regent and adjunct professor at the Haas School, died on Monday, Sept. 13, at his home in San Francisco. He was 88.

In a career spanning more than 50 years, Coblentz was involved in government, civil rights advocacy, and board service. A senior partner with Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, his chief areas of legal expertise were land use and development, real estate, and complex business transactions. He shared this knowledge with Berkeley MBA students by serving as an adjunct professor from 1994 to 2000.

"During the 1990s, Bill Coblentz and I co-taught a highly successful MBA elective on 'Business and the Media.' The value of this class was largely due to Bill's efforts," says Haas Professor David Vogel. "He enriched the students' learning experience both by drawing on his extensive personal experiences in dealing with the media, and by using his personal contacts to invite several distinguished speakers both from the media and business to present guest lectures.

"He became a good personal friend and his death is a personal loss both to me and to countless others whose lives he enriched," Vogel adds.

Coblentz served on the UC Board of Regents from 1964 to 1980, leading the board as chairman from 1978 to 1980. In 1980, he received the Berkeley Citation, the highest honor awarded by his undergraduate alma mater. He graduated with a degree in economics from Cal in 1943 and earned a law degree from Yale in 1947.

Coblentz served on the boards of directors for organizations including the Koret Foundation and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. In government he served as a consultant to the U.S. secretary of state and as special counsel to California Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown.

A San Francisco Chronicle obituary reported that Coblentz is survived by his wife, Jean; a sister, Lolita Erlanger of San Francisco; a daughter, Wendy of Mill Valley; a son, Andy of San Francisco; and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18,. at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco.