Family of slain U.S. ambassador to Libya announces UC Berkeley fund

The family of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, photographed here on April 11, 2011, in Benghazi, Libya, announced the establishment of an endowment fund at UC Berkeley.
(Ben Curtis / Associated Press)

The family of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who died in an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, has established a fund honoring him at UC Berkeley, the university announced Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of his death.

The $100,000 gift establishes an endowment for the school’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies “to support research and travel to the Middle East and North Africa for students who demonstrate a high level of distinction and are pursuing a degree in or related to Middle Eastern studies,” the university said in a statement.

Stevens graduated with a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley in 1982 and joined the Peace Corps, the university said.


After studying at UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, Stevens in 1992 joined the Foreign Service, launching a career that included stints in Cairo, Damascus and Jerusalem.

He was confirmed as ambassador to Libya in May 2012. He was 52 when he died. Stevens was the first American ambassador to die in the line of duty since 1988.

Three other Americans were also killed in the attack by heavily armed assailants.

Stevens’ parents, Jan Stevens and Mary (Stevens) Commanday, both Berkeley alums, said in a statement that “establishing this fund … will encourage graduates of this department to follow Chris’ lead in learning about and undertaking work in this increasingly important center of the world’s attention.”

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks called the endowment from Stevens’ family and friends a “wonderful gift” and said there “could be no better way to honor his legacy than enabling future generations of students to follow in his footsteps.”


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