July 19, 2011
By Dean Caparaz '90
Julianne Wu is making news again in Berkeley.
The former California lacrosse player, currently an MBA candidate at the Haas School of Business, recently received a prestigious Oscar Geballe Postgraduate Scholarship, which includes a $5,000 stipend and recognizes Geballe's devotion to Cal and his strong belief in the value of combining scholarship and intercollegiate athletic competition.
"I honestly was surprised," Wu said. "I was reluctant to apply. I thought it would be difficult to win the award because of the caliber of scholar-athletes who have received the award in the past. I was surprised and afterward very excited. It's going to be really helpful for my second year of business school."
After graduating with a bachelor's degree in psychology in 2004, Wu worked in the financial industry before co-founding ecoVC, a non-profit that describes itself as promoting "sustainable business practices within the venture and startup communities to deliver environmental and economic returns."
Wu, who turns 30 in June, manages to conduct ecoVC business - including attending board meetings at the San Francisco-based start-up - despite her rigorous course load. She plans to take what she learns at Haas and use it to grow her company. "I was taking an entrepreneurship class for entrepreneurs that had a more established start-up," Wu said. "We still haven't launched yet. I took that class just so that I could work on ecoVC while I was in school."
A product of Denver, Colo., Wu played in midfield for the Golden Bears from 2001-04. She still ranks sixth in goals (105), sixth in assists (40) and tied for fifth in total points (149) in school history. Wu garnered conference all-star honors in both 2001 and '03 and academic recognition from 2003-04.
Wu said her favorite memory as a Bear was winning the inaugural MPSF Tournament championship over Stanford, 11-10, in 2004.
"It was my most memorable moment for many reasons," she said. "It was the first time we won a championship, it was the first time my senior class beat Stanford, and playing in my hometown of Denver and having my family there was exciting. That was probably the last time I saw my mom - who passed away from cancer almost a year after that - healthy and happy."
Former Cal head coach Jill Malko recalls a gangly and not highly recruited player in Wu, whose drive, tenacity and stick skills surprised the competition. "She's really passionate, extremely focused and hard working, and that reflected in her academic achievements," Malko said. "One thing that stood out to me about Julianne and the thing she embraced was her curiosity. Sometimes she struggled with what she wanted to study; she was interested in science and interested in business. Coming to a place like Berkeley was great for her since she was encouraged to pursue a wide range of academic interests.
"She's a great young woman. I'm really, really proud of her and what she's accomplished in college and beyond college. She's so deserving of this award."