Academic Lives was founded in 2008 by then Program Chair Christina Marsden Gillis. The program was initially designed in conjunction with the Association of Academic Women and later programs were done in partnership with the Division of Equity and Inclusion Faculty Mentoring Program.
Complimentary discussions and receptions are open to the entire campus community. Early panel presentations considered the balancing act necessary to juggle career and personal lives. Other events have honored Berkeley’s “Seven Women Deans,” looked at the impact of “Academic Friendships” across departmental boundaries, and considered dual career couples. Economics Professor and past Chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors Christina Romer spoke on her experiences in both Academia and the public sector in a talk titled “A Tale of Two Cities.”
It was a particular honor to have former two term Governor Jennifer Granholm speak of her experiences guiding Michigan through a period of unprecedented economic challenge and change. Granholm had been employed as a Night Manager at the Club while a student at Berkeley.
Recently the format has been geared to conversations between academics from various perspectives. Topics have included the environment, immigration issues, parenting skills and assisted reproduction and the legal right of the child.
In 2016 the series was named “The Christina Marsden Gillis Academic Lives Series” in honor of Gillis’ vision and tenacity in guiding the program through its formative years.