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Carolyn Gan, Dr. Steven Chu, Ray Chan and Steve Chan

It only happens once in a lifetime; and surely it was an honor to be there when the University of California, Berkeley, celebrated its 143rd birthday and Gala Charter day Event with not just one, but two Chinese American alumnae being honored, especially with Dr. Steven Chu being named the 2011 Alumnus of the Year.

Dr. Chu is a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for physics (1997) and the current U.S. Secretary of Energy appointed by President Obama. Holder of 10 patents, Dr. Chu has published nearly 250 scientific and technical papers.

As a scientist, teacher and administrator, Dr. Chu is primarily interested in investing in clean energy, the reduction of our dependence on foreign oil, addressing the global climate change, and the pursuit of new alternative and renewable energies.

Also honored during the elegant evening alumni benefit held at the San Francisco City Hall was a friend of many of our colleagues: Dr. Andrew Frank, aka “Professor Plug-In”, who spent 10 years in aerospace the X15 hypersonic flight research that preceded the Apollo moon mission and more than 20 years in developing the first hybrid car.

His company markets the “PHEV” (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) to developing countries. As a senior professor at UC Davis, Frank continues to perfect the plug-in hybrid while forming the Institute of Transportation Studies.

Applauding the alumni celebration of distinguished awardees were Chinese Chapter Alumni Past Presidents Bendrew Jong and Raymond Chan, current Co-Presidents Steve Chan and Carolyn Gan, friends Doris Liu and Luther Lee, and about 450 others. Quietly nurturing its young people at Diablo College is a marvelous, extremely high-quality, successful, volunteer-driven Contra Costa Chinese School.

In addition to language classes for children and adults, there are cultural classes in Chinese calligraphy, painting, folk dance, martial arts, ping-pong, and more.

At a recent exhibition, this Language and Culture School far excelled beyond any such school in bigger cities. It is well-run and well administered. My heartiest congratulations to Principal John Chen, Julie Chen, and the entire staff! Bouquets to all .

A date to remember: Sat. May 14, 11 am to 3 pm, Locke, CA. The Locke Foundation and Sacramento Chinese Culture Club offers all day entertainment and the unveiling of a bronze statue of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of his leading the founding of modern China, the Repulic of China. Dr. Sun Yet-Sen came to Locke in 1906 fomenting the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty. There will be lion dancing, foods, entertainment, arts and crafts in the historic town of Locke. The event is free and open to the public.

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