by Jesús Mena
He was lauded as the "education general."
He received the first-ever Presidential Medal from UC President Richard Atkinson.
And, after directing the Cal Marching band in "Hail to California," he marched off the Zellerbach Hall stage leading the band and hundreds of cheering supporters.
Such was the energy that dominated a rousing tribute to Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien Feb. 20.
Students, faculty, alumni and administrators took turns delivering colorful reminiscences and laudatory remarks.
Some spoke of Tien's first year, which was plagued with tragedies that challenged the new chancellor to show his mettle.
"You had barely fit yourself in office when the entire Cal community was subjected to an incomprehensible, unrelenting cascade of injuries, accidents, shootings, fires and deaths," said W. Russell Ellis Jr., former vice chancellor for undergraduate affairs. "It was then that your leadership was fully visible."
Students and staff spoke of Tien's personal attention to the individual, faculty of his dedication to academic excellence, administrators of his record-setting pace of fund raising.
Between pronouncements, the program featured performances by the UC Gospel Choir, the UC Symphony Orchestra, the Men's Octet, and Yvenette and Yvette Barrozo from the Berkeley Young Musicians Program. The entertainment even included an excerpt from "A Midsummer Night's Dream," performed by the Center for Theater Arts.
Tien seemed particularly touched when Atkinson announced that he was being awarded the first-ever Presidential Medal. Atkinson said it was created to recognize a campus leader who has made contributions so significant that they go beyond a single campus and benefit the entire University of California system.
True to character, Tien was humble in accepting the tribute that the campus and the UC system had just paid him. He thanked his wife, Di-Hwa Tien, who stood at his side, for her patience during his tenure.
"This is unbelievable," he said. "I sat here through this evening listening to what was being said and I kept saying to myself, 'No, no. I haven't done anything alone.' All of you helped. I really feel I'm such a lucky person."
He is the very model of an education general
He's also the very model of a philanthropy go-getter
He is a leader for excellence, a champion for diversity
by Daniel E. Koshland, Jr.