The Benjamin Ide Wheeler award was established in 1929 to honor Berkeley’s “most useful citizen.” It is named after the University of California president who was best known for transforming UC from a small land grant college into a world-renowned university.
President Wheeler recognized that healthy communities are the fundamental basis for democracy. Today, the award honors individuals whose broad vision, community engagement and actions improve the quality of life for a significant number of people in Berkeley and beyond.
This year’s event will honor Vicki Alexander, M.D., with the 2017 Benjamin Ide Wheeler Award.
Considered by many as the “mother of Berkeley public health,” Dr. Vicki (as she is affectionately known) has made a career out of being first. She was the first person to discover that African-American babies born in Berkeley had the lowest birth weight in the nation—four times lower than that of white infants—leading to the creation of the Black Infant Health Program. In 2014, she co-led the successful “Yes on Measure D” Campaign to establish the first soda tax in the nation.
And, like many of our scholars, she was the first in her family to go to college.
We’ll honor Dr Vicki for her activism for public health equity and gather as a community to be inspired by the remarkable individuals who dare to be first.
With your continued support, the Berkeley Community Fund will help even more Berkeley students from lower-income families achieve their dream of going to, and graduating from, college.