Help Us Honor a Forgotten Hero

We need your help!  An effort is underway to restore the legacy of Berkeley EE Prof. Joseph Gier to the campus community. Gier, who was the first African American professor to earn tenure at the University of California, taught and ran a lab in Cory Hall between 1939 and 1958.  He held eight patents, ran a company that produced a variety of instruments to measure and harness solar radiation, and presented a paper at the first-ever international conference on solar energy. Raised in Oakland by a single mother who worked as a domestic, Gier earned two degrees at Berkeley before becoming a lecturer.  He remained at Berkeley for almost his entire career and was honored for his work as a civil rights activist. Yet despite being the first tenured Black professor to teach in a STEM field at a top tier, primarily white university in America, Joseph Gier disappeared from our record books until four years ago. We are asking the EECS community to come together to help us give this extraordinary man the recognition he deserves. Donations to the Joseph Gier Memorial Fund will sponsor a statue of Gier, created by Oakland artist Dana King, to be unveiled in the Blum Hall courtyard on September 20th.  Please help us correct an historical oversight and restore Gier to his rightful place in the Berkeley narrative!

Unfinished bronze bust of Joseph Gier