About Melani King

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So far Melani King has created 41 blog entries.

Eight-day dangle

1998: An animal-rights protester scales the Campanile and hangs on a platform off the south face for eight days. His climb is made with a rope dropped by his allies on the observation deck. Five of them, barricaded in the tower, are arrested. The object of the protests is the use of animals in campus [...]

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New life for old bones

Early 2000s: New research tools, such as stable isotope analysis, are used on the Rancho La Brea and McKittrick fossils to learn about topics including the diet of fossil species and tooth growth rates. Among the researchers from campus and beyond is Robert Feranec, a Berkeley graduate student who today is a curator at the [...]

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Two years of upgrades

2002-2004: The Campanile closes for renovations, including an elevator upgrade, on March 2, 2002. It reopens for weekday visits in early 2003, but stays closed weekends until Big Game 2004. Carillon music continues to be played three times daily. As part of the renovation, the west clock gets an overhaul. Steeplejack Jim Phelan, whose father, [...]

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Getting amped

Aug. 23, 2003: At the 6th Berkeley Carillon Festival, the world premiere of “Alignments” helps launch an increasing number of new compositions that will debut at UC Berkeley for carillon and live, amplified instruments. Written by David Wessel, then-director of the campus’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies, and performed with University Carillonist Jeff [...]

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Surfing for fossils

2006: The tower’s La Brea fossils are introduced to the world when the University of California Museum of Paleontology database goes online. As a result, interest in the museum collections, including the tower fossils, experiences a big jump. Researchers from many universities, including Occidental College, UCLA and the University of Iowa, begin visiting the campus [...]

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Students take the bench

Fall 2006: The first student-led course on playing the carillon is introduced. “Learning to Play the Sather Tower Carillon” remains a popular part of the Democratic Education at Cal (DeCal) program. For University Carillonist Jeff Davis, training a new generation of carillonists has been a top priority, along with composing. Currently, Davis teaches 15 to20 [...]

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Necessary improvements

2009: The tower, showing signs of weathering, is closed for several months for a major deferred- maintenance project. Scaffolding goes up, and a giant crane is employed; projects include waterproofing and repairs to the lantern, spire, and cracked and worn exterior tiles.

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Who let the wolves out

2010-2011: In the lab of integrative biology professor Leslea Hlusko, a team of undergraduates led by Ph.D. candidate Oliver Rizk improves the Campanile’s La Brea tar pit collection by organizing, cleaning and studying a large subset of the remains of the dire wolf, an extinct carnivorous mammal. For Rizk, whose dissertation research was on cranial [...]

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Summer spiff-up

Summer 2014: In time for the Campanile’s 100th birthday in 2015, its esplanade – the terraces, trees, lawns and staircases surrounding the tower – gets an overhaul. Few repairs had ever been done to the outdoor space, also designed by John Galen Howard. The aging decorative brick paving is pulled up and replaced, granite strips [...]

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Lift Ev’ry Voice

Sept. 17, 2014: At the suggestion of the Black Staff and Faculty Organization, the inspirational song “Lift Ev’ry Voice” by James Weldon Johnson is played on the massive carillon at noon by University Carillonist Jeff Davis as an ad hoc chorus sings it beneath the tower. The group chose the activity in response to results [...]

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