Cal Dedicates David Epstein Southwest Plaza
Oct. 28, 2005
BERKELEY, Calif. - California athletic director Sandy Barbour unveiled the David Epstein Southwest Plaza in a Friday afternoon ceremony honoring the former Cal track & field athlete for his philanthropic support of the Golden Bears program. The Plaza's name now adorns the wall adjacent to the entrance to Edwards Stadium, the home of Cal track & field. Barbour also announced that Epstein had endowed a Cal men's track scholarship to a gathering that included university officials, Cal director of track & field Chris Huffins, current Cal track & field athletes and Epstein's wife, Jane.
Epstein, who went to Cal from 1958-61, competed alongside such Cal stars as Don Bowden, the first American to run a sub-four minute mile, and Jack Yerman, who won a gold medal as a member of the 1600-meter relay at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Epstein earned a business degree at Cal and a law degree from UCLA. As an attorney, he specialized in property law and now sits on the Little Hoover Commission in Sacramento. Epstein also serves on the UC Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees and on the Cal track & field steering committee and is a member of the Big C Society.
'This is a very special day for me,' Barbour said. 'David and Jane have always been wonderful supporters of this university and this athletic department. But in my short tenure at Cal, they have also become wonderful friends. That is one of the joys of this job. We are here today to celebrate their support and guidance and vision of our track program. The dedication of the Epstein Plaza has meant absolutely the world to our track program.
'I also am very pleased and proud to announce today that David has also committed to an endowed scholarship fund for men's track. And again, it's another signal, another moment of your fabulous support to our program and to our student-athletes. We all thank you for that.'
Epstein recounted his time competing under then-Cal coach Brutus Hamilton.
'It was 46 years and 46 pounds ago that I was a very mediocre high school quarter-miler and was fortunate enough to get a scholarship to Cal,' Epstein said. 'We used to get 10,000, 12,000 people here for a track meet. We ran down at Stanford, and there were 70,000 people down there. I was so scared I ran the best time of my whole life.
'What I carry away from Cal and this wonderful opportunity this has given me - and this should be true for all the athletes here and all the other people here as well - is you've got to give some back. That's very important. And so, I'm very pleased to be here today and have my name on this wall.'
Epstein said his fondest memory of his track days at Edwards Stadium was when 'Coach Brutus Hamilton would come down every day with a bag of bird seed and feed the birds down here. Here he was, the top coach in the world, and he really had himself well balanced. It was that kind of attitude that enabled him to make his athletes the best around. And at one point, 13 of his athletes over the years had broken world records.'
Of the Plaza unveiling, he added, 'Hopefully it'll remind people it's very important to give something back to Cal. You get a wonderful education here and the athletic experience is outstanding. It's our job to make sure that the people who follow us get the same experience.'