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Rich Lyons, Chancellor At UC Berkeley

Rich Lyons Appointed Chancellor at UC Berkeley

Even though I have never net Rich Lyons, I am more than excited that he will be Berkeley’s new Chancellor, as of July 1, 2024.  He led the Haas School of Business as dean for a decade and he probably is my favorite faculty member on campus.

The UC Board of Regents unanimously voted Rich Lyons in as the new UC Berkeley Chancellor on April, 10 and at 63, he is the first UC Berkeley undergraduate alumnus since 1930 to become Chancellor.

When you want a role model who exemplifies educational and cultural innovation, it is no stretch of the imagination to put Rich Lyons in the top tier.

Rich Lyons grew up in Los Altos in the early days of the Silicon Valley start-up boom. But tech companies weren’t part of his childhood. and his meteoric rise through academia was likely not expected. His mother was a flight attendant when she met and later married Lyons’ father, an American Airlines pilot who helped found the airline’s pilots’ union. Neither graduated from a four year college.

Lyons attended Cal and graduated in 1982 with a degree in business and finance. He then earned his Ph.D. in 1987 in economics from MIT. After six years teaching at Columbia Business School, Lyons returned in 1993 and joined the Berkeley faculty as a professor of economics and finance, specializing in international finance and global exchange rates. He later spent two years working at Goldman Sachs as the chief learning officer, but returned to campus in 2008 to become the dean of the Haas School of Business.

While dean, Lyons oversaw the construction of Connie & Kevin Chou Hall, a state-of-the-art academic building that opened in 2017 and is celebrated for its sustainability. He also helped establish two new degree programs, linking the business school with both the College of Engineering and the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.

But it was his creation of the Haas Four Defining Principles  that spurred a sweeping culture initiative at the school that stands out in the minds of many. Those values — question the status quo, confidence without attitude, students always, and beyond yourself — became a creed of sorts for new students and alumni alike.

“My goal as a leader then, and now,” Lyons has said, “is to facilitate and sustain a culture that supports diversity of perspective, provides every student with a true sense of belonging and encourages educational innovation.”

Lyons stepped down as dean at Haas in 2018 and in January 2020 became Berkeley’s first-ever chief officer of innovation and entrepreneurship. Building on his research exploring how leaders drive innovation and set behavioral norms and culture, he worked to expand and champion Berkeley’s rich portfolio of innovation and entrepreneurship activities for the benefit of students, faculty, staff, startups and external partners. One need only look to the Berkeley Changemaker program that he helped launch in 2020 to see innovation and entrepreneurship in action.

You can read more about Rich Lyons here.

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Lindy is an independent UC admissions consultant, who works with both transfers and freshmen. She also has just completed her first novel, a supernatural thriller set in San Francisco.

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