April 14, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

UC Berkeley Grad from Brentwood Wins Big Award


Eric Olliff, 22, who grew up in Brentwood, recently received UC Berkeley’s highest honor for a graduating senior, the 2012 University Medal.

He has sailed in Polynesia, helped safeguard endangered California Tiger Salamanders, learned Mandarin and excelled at rock-climbing. Oh yes, he’s also good at freestyle rap and juggling.

He is certified as a wilderness first responder and an advanced open water diver. He’s fun-loving and charismatic to boot.

In recognition of Eric’s many talents, he was invited to speak at Berkeley’s commencement exercises, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in conservation and resource studies.

The University Medal was established in 1871. Candidates must have a GPA of at least 3.96 by the end of the semester before their graduation. Those who qualify and wish to be considered submit an essay, a resume and several letters of recommendation. The medalist is chosen by the UC Berkeley Committee on Prizes.

Last summer, Olliff interned with the Waves of Hope nonprofit foundation in Northern Nicaragua, helping with sea turtle conservation, teaching English to local adults and children, and lending a hand in the community garden.
Olliff is considering attending graduate school to study wildlife veterinary medicine or pursuing a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology. Whatever life holds, he’s confident things will work out just fine. Meanwhile, he plans to spend time “simply enjoying my youth.â€

Growing up, Eric attended Carlthorp School in Santa Monica and Harvard-Westlake.

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