UC Berkeley Foundation to Honor Eight Haas Alumni and Friends

Gerson Bakar, BS 48, and Barbara Bakar will be recognized with the Chancellor’s Award from the UC Berkeley Foundation and six additional Haas alumni will receive awards from the foundation at a special event May 8 at the Claremont Resort & Spa.

The Chancellor’s Award is the Berkeley Foundation’s most prestigious award, honoring an alumnus or friend of UC Berkeley who has given consistently distinguished service to numerous major fundraising programs or campaigns of the university. In 2007, Bakar, a prominent San Francisco real estate developer, and his wife gave $25 million to the Haas School to create at least five new faculty positions. The gift is the largest individual donation in the Haas School’s history.

To honor the Bakars, the Haas School named its faculty wing the Barbara and Gerson Bakar Faculty Building. He also was honored as the Haas School’s Alumnus of the Year in 1991.

After earning his undergraduate business degree at Berkeley, Bakar went on to develop several notable projects in California, including Levi Plaza, San Francisco’s Northpoint Apartments and Mall, Stanford’s Oak Creek Apartments, Carmel Plaza in Carmel, and Park Newport in Newport Beach.

Bakar has been an adviser and consultant to the Haas School for more than 20 years and has served several terms on the Haas School’s advisory board. He also was a founding member and continues to serve on the advisory board of the Haas School’s Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics. In 2007, friends and colleagues of Bakar established the Gerson Bakar-Fisher Center Policy Advisory Board Real Estate Scholarship in his honor. Each year, the fund provides a $10,000 merit scholarship to a Berkeley MBA student with entrepreneurial drive and a passion for real estate.

In addition to Bakar, four members of the Haas community will receive Trustees’ Citation awards to recognize their years of service and support to UC Berkeley: Leo Pircher, BS 54, JD 57; Dato’ Sri Prof. Dr. Tahir; Michael A. Torres, BS 82, MBA 86; and Mike Wood, BS 79.

Two Haas alumni – Kinman Tong, BS 03, and Tyler Wishnoff, BS 13 – will be honored with Young Bear Awards, which are given to a current student, young alumnus, or friend who has demonstrated outstanding achievement on a fundraising project or has accomplished successful outreach to the community or alumni.

  • Tong’s devotion to development at Berkeley started when he was a student leading his Senior Gift Campaign, in which he presented then Chancellor Robert Berdahl with a check for $73,000 raised from his fellow classmates. Since graduating, he has served Berkeley-Haas on several committees, including the Haas Alumni Council, the Development Council, his 10th year reunion committee, and the first Haas Undergraduate Leadership Committee. A CPA by training, Tong is a devoted ambassador to the Haas School who has strengthened the culture of philanthropy among young alumni and current students.
  • Wishnoff began giving back to Berkeley virtually the moment he enrolled as a transfer student his junior year, when he joined the class of 2012 Senior Gift Campaign and then applied his knowledge the following year when he co-chaired both the Berkeley-Haas and the campus-wide senior gift campaigns. As a student, he was a member, and then president, of the Haas Business Student Association, and highly dedicated to building awareness among undergraduates of the Haas School’s Defining Principles. He also managed the Haas Undergraduate Student Blog highlighting student life at Haas. His love for Cal didn’t end when he graduated: While working at Cisco, he has continued to serve the school as his class engagement officer, reaching out to classmates on behalf of the university.

Learn more about the UC Berkeley Awards.