Wilton to Be Sworn in Prior to OSU Opener

John Wilton -- who has been a friend of the Cal baseball program since his arrival in Berkeley -- will take his oath of citizenship before Friday's 7 p.m. game at Evans Diamond.

Before Friday's baseball game between California and No. 2 Oregon State, British-born UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance John Wilton -- who came to Cal on Feb. 1, 2011 – will be taking his oath to become a citizen of the United States. Though Wilton came into the fold after the initial cancellation of the baseball program in September of 2010, and just as the fundraising that eventually saved the program began in earnest, he has become one of the champions of the program among the administration.

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"That's a big deal," head coach David Esquer says of the ceremony. "He's been a big help, a big supporter. He understands the value of athletics and, in particular, has become a friend of our program. A lot of mutual respect on both ends."

Wilton – who reeived his bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from Sussex University – left his Ph.D. program at Cambridge in 1982 to join the World Bank's Young Professionals Program, and remained with that institution until 2006, before leaving to become an advisor on developments in the global economy to Hellman and Friedman LLC, a private investment company, and serving as a managing director and the director of international research for Farallon Capital Management LLC, a global, multi-strategy, U.S.-based investment managing firm.

"He's a visionary," says Esquer. "He really is a visionary. He sees things two and three steps beyond the present, and I think you benefit from that. He's an economic genius and a financial genius. He's been able to foresee the benefits and possibilities for our program, from the lights to the scoreboard to the beer garden, fan and community outreach and how this program can become sustainable on its own and a part of the community – a valuable part."

Without Wilton, Esquer says, the amenities that have produced a renaissance in attendance at Evans Diamond – the new lights, video scoreboard and additional bathrooms and concessions – would not have happened as quickly as they did.

"Absolutely not. Absolutely not," Esquer says. "He's allowed us the vision and progress to just attack helping ourselves. He's helped us help ourselves."

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