Executive Director Joe Lurie


For seventy years, students and scholars from around the world have been building global understanding at International House, one friendship at a time. If the founders of the House came back today, they would find a very familiar spirit with new faces and new programs to meet changing needs.

The founders of the House could only have dreamed of the growth of financial aid which now makes it possible to attract the most promising students to I-House. 16 percent of residents receive financial aid for room and board, up from 12 percent last year and less than 5 per cent in 1990. A pilot program with the UC Graduate Division now brings top students to Cal with aid packages that combine tuition assistance and I-House residence. And thanks to expanded financial aid resources, students represent greater international diversity as well as the cultural, ethnic, and economic diversity of the United States.

The House is no longer all “gleaming new” as John Kenneth Galbraith found it in 1931 and we are challenged to be stewards of this magnificent building. Ambitious improvements have been made that enhance earthquake safety. The dome has been repaired, painted, and waterproofed. Significant electrical and fire safety improvements have been made. A ramp has been constructed for disabled access in keeping with the architectural heritage of the House.

Although some of us are slow to embrace the wonderful world of computer technology, it is an everyday part of the lives of today’s residents and many of our alumni. Imagine online exchanges that bring people together from around the world to discuss current issues or to get travel tips or career advice. We have designed this I-House Online Community with you in mind, and we hope you will take advantage of what the community has to offer and help us make it a success.

Today’s technology now connects I-House to the powerful electronic “backbone” of the University. High-speed computer connections have been linked to all resident rooms and offices providing residents with the latest resources for research and communication.

I’m sure that the founders of I-House would be surprised and delighted to see these developments. Perhaps, most of all they would be moved by the ongoing support of alumni and friends. It is a plain and simple fact that none of these changes could have happened without this generosity.

The founders would also appreciate the work of our active and forward-thinking Board of Directors. They build on the dreams of the founders and lead us into our next 70 years!

In celebration of the 70th Anniversary, please join us for A Walk Down Memory Lane on February 26. A reception and dinner will be hosted by residents in the Auditorium followed by speakers representing every decade of I-House history.

And if you can’t attend, I invite you to send us your reflections on your own I-House experiences for the publication of Cross-Cultural Interactions: 70 Years of the International House Experience.

Joseph Lurie
Executive Director