Jan. 23, 2013
When the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Plaza was officially dedicated on Oct. 4, 2012, visitors to California Memorial Stadium were already enjoying the stunning new space outside the west wall of the historic stadium given the start of football season one month earlier.
The plaza is the latest - and largest - gift to Cal from this San Francisco couple, but it is the totality of the Goldmans' support for the University that has been most stunning. Their commitment to Cal speaks to something bigger than any one gift. Each donation they make to the University is intended to echo and amplify the school's eternal quest for excellence. It's an ambition that defines Cal's stature among higher institutions of learning and a value the Goldmans believe must be sustained by everyone in the Cal community.
"The plaza is wonderful and it sits upon a magnificent high-performance center," Doug Goldman said. "These structures can be beautiful, they can inspire, but that's just part of the equation. It's what happens inside and in proximity to those places that's most important. It requires constant attention and nurturing. "
Ideals of excellence might be lofty and difficult to define, but Lisa and Doug Goldman have made it their mission to articulate them through their philanthropy. And while their capacity to give may be seemingly boundless, it has always been focused. In addition to its support for Cal Athletics and the UC
Berkeley community, the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund has provided significant support to a broad range of initiatives that spring from core values around civil liberties, education and literacy, health and recreation, and the environment.
The Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund was first established in 1992 as a private foundation committed to providing support for charitable organizations that enhance society. Via their foundation, the Goldmans have made over 200 gifts to Cal over the past 20 years totaling in excess of $21 million. Their donations range from support for a variety of sports within Intercollegiate Athletics -- including golf, basketball, football and tennis-- to myriad academic grants, including schools (such as the Goldman School of Public Policy, which is named for Doug's parents, and the Haas School of Business, which is named for his grandfather), colleges (Letters & Sciences' new Big Ideas curriculum was recently funded by them), libraries (Bancroft, Tien East Asian Library), associations (including scholarships for multiple students annually), and other University programs.
Since 2010 alone, the Goldmans' support has addressed more than 20 areas of need inside and outside of athletics. These initiatives have set a strong foundation for donor support throughout Cal Athletics heading into 2013.
A dynamic, multi-use destination point that can be used as a venue for academic events, conferences, performances, and even future stadium retail space, the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Plaza offers views of historic Sather Tower and the UC Berkeley campus. The 1.5-acre plaza provides students and visitors with a year-round gathering spot that has quickly become known as one of the most beautiful facets of the renovated stadium.
Outgoing Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau described the plaza as "one of the most generous commitments to Cal Athletics in The Campaign for Berkeley. Lisa and Doug Goldman embody integrity, generosity, service and leadership in the community, and they have a long-standing commitment to education. The campus is honored to recognize Lisa and Doug and to affirm our shared ideals in the historic treasure that is Memorial Stadium."
Doug called Chancellor Birgeneau "an outstanding chancellor who withstood great adversity with skill, purpose, and determination, and was also, among past chancellors, the greatest supporter of Cal's Athletic Department." Doug and Lisa both look forward to working together with incoming Chancellor Nicholas Dirks.
"As a recent 60 Minutes piece emphasized and many already have understood, athletics is the entry point for both enthusiasm and gifts from a majority of alumni and friends of the University," said Doug, who has known every chancellor since Roger Heyns (1965-71). "I am hopeful that Chancellor-Elect Dirks has already grasped this critical relationship between athletics and academics."
At the Oct. 4 plaza dedication, Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour affirmed that Intercollegiate Athletics is "delighted to count Lisa and Doug Goldman as friends, ardent supporters, and believers in the Cal standard of academic and athletic excellence for our student-athletes." Barbour called Cal's recent success at the 2012 Summer Olympics "a testament to the culture of high performance at Cal, which is ensured by the support of such loyal and generous donors as Lisa and Doug."
The entire state of California has been under incredible financial pressure. Everyone associated with the University of California system, from President Mark Yudof to the people who shut off the lights each night, has been working tirelessly to put the University on stable financial footing. That unified effort translates to athletic development, where Bear Backers know their support is significant in all its forms, large and small.
Doug and Lisa remain prepared to do everything they can to help. "The part of the revenue equation that we can affect in the coming years is the philanthropy portion," said Doug. "But we all have to step up if we want to see this cherished institution continue to be excellent. Some of us are much more fortunate in the quantities with which we can assist, but it requires everyone who has an interest, at whatever level each of us can, to step up and participate."
Cal's history as a public land-grant institution has made it challenging for many alumni to understand that tax dollars alone will no longer sustain their alma mater.
As Doug said: "We all need to recognize the model that, once you have graduated, it becomes your responsibility to give back to help the generations that follow you. That is where we collectively need to be going. The future of this University and its ability to excel depends upon all of us to participate and give back."
Nobel Prizes are a nice benchmark - a very nice benchmark- and 22 Nobel Laureates have hailed from UC Berkeley. But, as Doug noted, there is something special about athletic excellence that can unite a community like nothing else can. "Nobel Prize winners are amazing and a fabulous achievement for the entire University," he said, "but athletics has a way of reaching the collective consciousness."
Cal is a University defined by the pursuit of excellence. Everything Lisa and Doug Goldman have done for this institution moves that pursuit forward. Every Bear Backer thanks them.
This story originally appeared in the winter 2012-13 issue of Cal Sports Quarterly. To become a Bear Backer and receive CSQ, contact the Office of Athletic Development at (510) 642-2427 or email email@example.com.