Peter S. Van Houten ’53

Early Life

  • Born Aug. 8, 1934 in Santa Cruz, CA
  • A “True-Blue” Cal Bear Family: both parents, brother Jim and sister Ann
  • Student body president at Santa Cruz H.S.
  • Winner of Gold SC, the high school’s highest award
  • All-League in baseball. Also played basketball

Cal Education, SAE & Early Career Years

  • Entered Cal Fall 1952. Lived at Bowles Hall
  • Lettered and earned Big C in baseball. Earned Circle C in volleyball
  • Pledged SAE Fall 1953. Became EA Fall 1955
  • Attended SAE Leadership School in Evanston, IL
  • President of Big C Society. Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Honor Roll
  • ASUC Representative at Large
  • Graduated in 1956 with honors in Physical Education
  • Regimental Commander (Cadet Colonel) in Army ROTC
  • 2nd and 1st Lt. Armor at Fort Knox and Camp (now Fort) Irwin
  • Coached Cal JV baseball team while attending graduate school
  • Taught Junior High School in San Leandro, CA 1958/59
  • Earned his Master (M.A.) in Education in 1962 and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in 1973

U.C. Berkeley Career

  • Spanned 40 years from 1960 to his retirement in 2000
  • Began as Assistant Dean of Students. Was advisor to the IFC
  • In 1968 became the first Dean of Orientations
  • In 1973 was appointed Director, Office of Student Advising & Assistance
  • Director of Pre-Graduate and Pre-Professional Advising
  • Director, Graduate School Services
  • Started the program for advising student-athletes
  • Became the announcer at many campus events
  • President, Western Regional Association of Advisors for the Health Professions
  • President, Pacific Coast Association of Pre-Law Advisors
  • Editor of The Advisor, Journal of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions

Awards, Honors & Post-Career Activities

  • At retirement, awarded the Berkeley Citation and Helmet Award
  • Past-President of Cal Alumni Club of Tuolumne County
  • Visits high schools all over the state to talk about Cal
  • Helps high school students edit their personal statements for their UC applications
  • Active with Class of 1956 reunion and gift committee
  • Continues to serve as emcee at Cal commencement convocations
  • In 2014, received the Cal Alumni Association’s “Award for Excellence in Service”

Personal & Family

  • Married Betty Jane Mitchell on Dec. 15, 1956. She was an ADPi at Cal.
  • According to Betty, “Peter is really married to Cal.”
  • Have five children, 11 grandchildren and one great grandchild
  • Have lived in Twain Harte, CA for 40+ years
  • Travel extensively including to Cambria, Palm Springs, and Mammoth Lakes
  • Also enjoy attending jazz festivals
  • According to Peter, “Cal deserves my every effort to become the best ambassador I can be. As with so many other alums, it’s a labor of love. I’m just True Blue. Probably far too much. But that’s me.”