Campus: CSU, Fullerton -- April 16, 2001


CSUF and CSU to Award Honorary Doctorates to Nicolas Cage and Gareth C.C. Chang

Nicolas Cage, an Academy-Award-winning actor, and Gareth C.C. Chang, a Cal State Fullerton alumnus who is widely respected as an international businessman, will be awarded honorary degrees this spring at Cal State Fullerton.

Cage is slated to receive a doctorate in fine arts Friday, May 25, during the first of two days of CSUF commencement ceremonies. Chang will receive a doctorate in science Saturday, May 26.

The honorary doctorates - the highest honor the university can bestow - are to be awarded jointly by California State University, Fullerton and the California State University.

Cage was born in 1964 in Long Beach. Encouraged by a family that valued education and the arts, Cage undertook acting lessons as a teen-ager and landed professional roles, including a part in the 1981 television film "The Best of Times."

Soon Cage was appearing in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Valley Girl" and "Rumble Fish," which was directed by his uncle, Francis Ford Coppola. Numerous successes followed, including
"Moonstruck," "Raising Arizona," "Honeymoon in Vegas," "Guarding Tess" "Bringing Out the Dead" and "Leaving Las Vegas," for which he won the Academy Award for best actor. Cage played an action hero in "The Rock" and takes the romantic lead in "Captain Corelli's Mandolin," which is scheduled for summer release. In the fall, filmgoers will see him in the World War II feature "Windtalkers" and in the dark comedy "Adaptation."

"He has integrity, donates to the less fortunate, is highly recognized for his career, and takes risks to become better and to continue to learn," noted CSUF President Milton A. Gordon. "For Nicolas Cage, learning is an everyday process."

His fellow honoree, Cal State Fullerton graduate Chang, was born in the Sichuan province of China during World War II and fled Communist rule with his family in 1949. After a decade in Hong Kong, the family moved to the United States, where Chang - then 16 - worked as a busboy and waiter and prepared for entrance to Cal State Fullerton. While studying mathematics and physics at the university, he worked as a systems analyst in the campus computer center, served as the founding president of the Math Club and co-chaired the 1965 Model United Nations.

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in math in 1965, Chang began his career as a university lecturer. After two years of teaching, he began a rapid ascent in the corporate realm, attaining key positions within the aerospace, telecommunications and information systems industries. He held positions of strategic importance at such firms as Xerox, Honeywell, McDonnell Douglas, Hughes Electronics, DirecTV International and Star TV Group.

Named by Fortune magazine as one of the top 125 thinkers in the world, Chang is now the managing partner of GC3 and Associates International LLC, a private investment and consulting company; executive chairman of Click2Asia.com; chairman/CEO of PingPong.com; and a board member of Apple Computer Inc. He is also an honorary professor at Qin Hua University in Beijing.

Drawing on the diplomatic skills he learned from his Model United Nations experience at CSUF, Chang has served as the first chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong; founding president of the Hong Kong Aerospace Forum; a member of the 1996 advisory committee of the Export-Import Bank of the United States; an adviser to Congress' Office of Technology Assessment; and a board member of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council and the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

Both CSUF and the CSU have benefited from Chang's leadership and business acumen. He is one of three founders and co-chairs of the university's "Front & Center" organizing committee, which stages an annual event that raises funds for scholarships. He also represented the California State University Foundation in Hong Kong as a member of its Regional Advisory Board.


Twice honored by his alma mater, Chang was awarded the CSUF Alumni Association's "Distinguished Alumni Award for Career Achievement" in 1979 and was recognized in 1995 at "Vision & Visionaries" as a distinguished alumnus.

"Mr. Chang has steadfastly supported Cal State Fullerton and served as an inspiration and role model to our students," said Gordon. "For all of his remarkable achievements and for the distinction he has brought to Cal State Fullerton as one of its truly outstanding alumni, it is appropriate to recognize him now."

Previous recipients of honorary doctorates at Cal State Fullerton have been: filmmaker James Cameron, Southland community leader Clarence Iwao Nishizu, industrialist Arnold O. Beckman, restaurateur Donald F. Karcher (honored posthumously), the late Broadway director Jose Quintero and the late Louis Booker Wright, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.


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