UC Berkeley may not currently be ranked by U.S. News, but its name lives on in the world of fiction. Besides, why would rankings matter when our school played an integral part in the “High School Musical” trilogy? Let’s give a hearty “Go Bears” to UC Berkeley’s famous fictional alumni and faculty from some of the most iconic books, movies and television series.
Troy Bolton (“High School Musical”)
How could anyone forget when high school heartthrob Troy Bolton couldn’t choose between his two loves — theater and basketball — and decided to go to UC Berkeley to pursue both, while also staying close to his main love, Gabriella, who was going to attend Stanford? Because it’s always a great idea to stay with your high school sweetheart when you go to college. Throughout freshman year, the star-crossed lovers probably took that tedious combination of BART and Caltrain to meet up on the weekends, celebrate game day together during the Big Game and watch each other’s respective a cappella performances.
Dr. Bill Foster (“Ant-Man and the Wasp”)
All UC Berkeley students and alumni squealed internally when they saw Scott Lang and the gang walk through Sather Gate in “Ant-Man and the Wasp” on their way to meet Hank Pym’s old associate, Dr. Bill Foster. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dr. Foster teaches quantum physics at UC Berkeley, which is admittedly not as cool as inventing the Pym Particles and becoming a superhero. But science has to start somewhere, right? And just picture Ant-Man and the Wasp dilly-dallying around LeConte Hall!
Ian Malcolm (“Jurassic Park”)
According to Michael Crichton, chaos theory aficionado Ian Malcolm (famously played by an unnecessarily shirtless Jeff Goldblum in the film adaptation) is a visiting biology lecturer at UC Berkeley. In this world, Malcolm’s famous quote, “Life, uh, finds a way,” is likely engraved in bronze and framed on the wall in Malcolm’s office in the Valley Life Sciences Building. He also reportedly teaches guest lectures shirtless and perched seductively on a desk, which has been described as needlessly but meme-ably sensual by students.
Dr. Cristina Yang (“Grey’s Anatomy”)
One-half of the best duo to come out of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Yang has a veritable alphabet of degrees — a B.A. from Smith College, an M.D. from Stanford, and a Ph.D. from our very own UC Berkeley. While she was pursuing her degree at UC Berkeley, we can imagine the former Seattle Grace Hospital resident making good use of Moffitt’s 24/7 library and not caring about the superstition of stepping on the Berkeley seal, because let’s face it: She’s getting a 4.0 GPA anyway.
Annabeth Chase (“Percy Jackson” series)
Remember Annabeth Chase, the far more competent and accomplished demigod from Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series? Remember when she was a middle schooler in the series? Well, now she’s all grown up and attending college. Feel old yet? According to Riordan’s “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard,” Annabeth ended up attending UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, which is fitting for the aspiring architect. During her time here, Annabeth probably took over UC Berkeley’s Fencing Club, taught a Greek mythology DeCal and was banned from the classics department for constantly correcting them on their many historical inaccuracies.
Dr. Emmett Brown (“Back to the Future”)
Great Scott! The inventor of the DeLorean time machine is a UC Berkeley alum? Step aside, any alum who has won a Nobel Prize ever! During his freshman year, Doc Brown would have originally been given a triple in Unit 3 but would have had to transfer to the more spacious Clark Kerr Campus when his roommates complained about the clutter from science projects he left around the dorm. After he moved out, he spent the rest of his years living in Jacobs Hall, constantly moving around at night to avoid security. Rumor has it that he tested his first time machine vehicle on a Kiwibot. Fortunately, the Kiwibot successfully went back in time! Unfortunately, it immediately hit a curb, fell over and was unable to go back to the future.