Evelyn D. Haas Bay Area Civic Leader Evelyn D. Haas


Evelyn D. Haas, a prominent Bay Area civic leader and wife of the late Walter A. Haas Jr., BS 37, died on Feb. 3 at the age of 92.


Haas’ volunteer service spanned more than 60 years. She led her family foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, to contribute more than $364 million to hundreds of cultural, civic, and social service organizations —from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to Crissy Field.


In 1989, Walter Haas Jr. and his siblings— Peter Haas, BS 40 (Econ.) and Rhoda Haas Goldman, BA 45 (Child Dev.)—contributed $23.75 million to the new Haas School building complex that was named after their father, Walter A. Haas Sr., BS 10.


Evelyn Haas is probably best known in the Bay Area for her leadership on the board of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which dates back to the 1950s. She and her late husband were instrumental in helping raise $95 million to build the new museum building that opened in 1995.


Haas and her family also spearheaded the restoration of San Francisco’s Crissy Field into a premier urban national park. In addition, Haas was a leading advocate for the San Francisco Chronicle’s Season of Sharing Fund, which benefits families who need emergency financial assistance.


Haas married and moved with her husband to San Francisco in 1940. Her husband went on to follow his father, Walter A. Haas Sr., and great grand-uncle, Levi Strauss, in leading Levi Strauss & Co. Haas and her husband also owned the Oakland Athletics baseball team from 1980 and 1995, watching the team win the World Series in 1989.


Haas is survived by her three children, Robert D. Haas, a former Haas School advisory board member and former CEO and current chairman emeritus of Levis Strauss & Co.; Betsy Haas Eisenhardt; Walter J. Haas; six grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.


Tech Entrepreneur Ajay Sreekanth, MBA 01


Competition organizer and dear friend to hundreds of classmates, faculty, and staff, died April 7 after battling a brain tumor. He was 42.


As a student, Ajay was heavily involved in the Haas School’s entrepreneurship program. He co-chaired the UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition for two years during its early days, playing an instrumental role in popularizing and strengthening it. Ajay received two entrepreneurship fellowships at Haas: the Price Institute Fellowship and the Venture Capital Fellowship.


In addition to his MBA, Ajay earned a master’s degree in computer science from Berkeley in 1998. He worked at several tech startups, including Magellan, an early search engine; Silicon Graphics; and Asterix Technology, which he co-founded. After graduating from Haas, he worked for Sorenson Media and GeneTree.


Ajay distinguished himself as an undergraduate at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, where he earned both the President’s Gold Medal for the highest grade-point average and the Governor’s Gold Medal for extracurricular activities.


Ajay was very passionate about music, in particular blues and rock. He had a large, eclectic group of friends. “He was the most vibrant of our classmates, first to the table with wise and provocative debate,” recalled Susan Steiner Saal, a fellow MBA 01. “Ajay always kept life in perspective and prioritized being true to himself.”


Ajay is survived by his mother and his brother and an inspired community of close friends and classmates.


WWII Veteran William Edward Cannady, MBA 60


Longtime Cal booster and World War II veteran William Edward Cannady, MBA 60, died Jan. 19 after a period of failing health. He was 90.


Cannady was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the National Guard 258th Field Artillery in 1942. After sailing to Europe with 40,000 soldiers on the Queen Mary, he served in Normandy and then went on to help free Paris from the Germans and fight in the Battle of the Bulge. He served with U.S. Occupational Forces in Germany for two years after World War II ended, was discharged in 1948, and received a bronze star for his service in Normandy.


Cannady worked for Standard Oil overseas before earning his MBA. Then he worked as a securities analyst and moved to Crocker Bank, retiring in 1984 as head of Crocker’s corporate banking division responsible for lending to energy-related businesses.


Cannady served as president of the California Business Administration Alumni Association and UC Alumni Association boards and was a member of the UC Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees.


Cannady is survived by his wife, Lois, and four stepsons.


Former Business School Dean John Cowee


John CoweeJohn Cowee, former dean at the University of California, Berkeley business school, died of natural causes on May 15, in Denver, Colo. He was 91.


Cowee served from 1961 to 1966 as the seventh dean of the business school, which was later named the Haas School of Business.


During Cowee’s deanship, the school created its first international business curriculum, and social sciences became more integrated into the overall business curriculum. Cowee also helped found the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he developed links between Asia and the University of California.


Raymond Miles, business school dean from 1982 to 1990, was recruited by Cowee as a professor. “John’s care and concern was a factor in my decision to come to Berkeley,“ Miles said. “John handled both the duties of the office and the social hosting of the faculty with what seemed to a young scholar to be amazing ease.”


A World War II veteran, Cowee received a Bronze Star for his service in the U.S. Army in the South Pacific. After the war, he earned his PhD in business and LLB (law degree) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Cowee became a UC Berkeley professor in 1953, teaching at the law school before becoming the business school dean. He left UC Berkeley in 1966 under what his son, John Cowee Jr., described as “political circumstances.“ Cowee favored the students’ Free Speech Movement, which was opposed by then Gov. Ronald Reagan.


From 1968 to 1974, Cowee returned to Wisconsin, his home state, and became vice president for finance and provost at Marquette University. In 1975, Cowee became the first chancellor of the University of Colorado’s Health Sciences Center. He retired in 1984 and then served on the boards of more than 50 organizations, including the Children’s Diabetes Foundation in Denver, the Wisconsin Heart Association, and the American Board for Medical Advancement in China.


Cowee is survived by his wife, Nancy; sons John Cowee Jr. and Jeff Cowee; daughter Susan McCarthy; and three grandchildren.


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