Haas, UC Berkeley Leaders Celebrate New Hub of Activity

Haas and UC Berkeley leaders on Wednesday (Sept. 18) celebrated the first major step toward creating a new hub of activity on the eastern edge of campus at the newly renovated Memorial Stadium.

That step, achieved through cross-campus collaboration, was represented by the recent opening of the Berkeley-Haas Innovation Lab and the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Plaza within the stadium gates. A new 5,000-sq. ft. Cal Recreational Sports facility slated to open in October is sure to add to the activity at the stadium, drawing from students who live at the International House, Greek houses, and nearby dormitories.

Speaking to an audience of about 200 staff and faculty in the new Berkeley-Haas Innovation Lab within the stadium walls, Dean Rich Lyons noted how the eastern edge of campus has already become more lively not only at lunchtime but all day long as a result of the newly remodeled Haas courtyard.

Lyons recalled how the new Haas building was "transformational" for the business school when it opened two decades ago. But management education has changed since then, Lyons noted, and new teaching methods don't work as well with traditional tiered classrooms designed for lectures.

"We want students to work together, to learn from each other," Lyons said. "We talk about learning by doing, applied learning."

The Innovation Lab, a 2,700-sq.-ft. open, reconfigurable classroom, enables students to more easily work together and break into small groups with their own spaces. The industrial-style space, located less than 300 steps from Haas, has movable tables, chairs, and white board partition walls. Building the space was made possible by a $1 million gift from Mike Gallagher, BS 67, MBA 68, whom Lyons thanked Wednesday. Gallagher, former CEO of Playtex Products, attended the ceremony with his wife, Linda.

"I'm inspired by the students I meet when I'm at Haas. They're exceptional people with great opportunities for successful careers and a way to impact the business world positively," Gallagher said recently. "The I-Lab seemed perfect for the Defining Principles and the opportunity for students to have a place to work on innovative projects collaboratively and individually and for professors to try new teaching techniques."

"I'm not sure every school really understands innovation or teaches it well, but Berkeley is doing a good job," Gallagher added. "Haas gets better every year, and it's been a joy to be involved and help."

A gift to Cal Athletics from San Francisco philanthropists Douglas and Lisa Goldman led to the plaza named in their honor. Joined by his wife, Lisa, Douglas Goldman spoke about the potential to create another gateway to campus, akin to Sproul Plaza, at Memorial Stadium. Goldman, a former Haas Board member who the school will honor in November as its Business Leader of the Year, suggested the stadium should be bustling more than just six times a year during home football games. Rather, he sees an "opportunity to create more community, to make the Berkeley experience that much more exciting and robust." That multi-use public space is likely to be enjoyed in particular by what alumnus Doug Goldman dubbed “the lost tribes of the campus"  — faculty, staff and students who live and/or work on the campus's hilly east side.

Alumni Mike Gallagher and Douglas Goldman learn how Senior Lecturer Sara Beckman will use the new Innovation Lab.