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
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
"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
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
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.