Honoring Peter Berck

September 09, 2019

Less than two weeks before he passed away, Peter Berck suggested some topics for a memorial conference. As a theme, he proposed Natural Resources, Climate, and Food Production. “Make it as broad as possible,” he said, “so that as many of my friends as possible can attend.” As a result, 75 participants gathered at UC Berkeley, one year after Peter's death, for a conference in his honor.

The conference was sponsored by the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the College of Natural Resources (CNR), and hosted by the Haas School of Business, thanks to Dean Ann Harrison, formerly an ARE faculty member. The CNR Dean’s Office and the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics provided financial support.

From left to right: ARE Chair Jeff Perloff, Joseph Berck, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, Cyndi Berck and CNR Dean David Ackerly.

There was an excellent line up of speakers covering a wide range of topics, many of which were directly inspired by conversations and research shared with Peter. A total of seven sessions were convened and chaired by the conference organizers: Jeff Perloff, Meredith Fowlie, Max Auffhammer, Chris Costello, and Sofia Villas-Boas. Thanks to all who gathered and helped make the conference possible, and thanks to those unable to attend who sent well-wishes.

The take-away from the participants of the memorial conference was to keep Peter’s memory alive by following many of his leads, especially his open-door policy, his kindness, his humor without malice, and his generosity.

To read more about the conference, go here.