My Friend and Colleague, Professor Hi Chang Chai
When I think of Professor Hi Chang Chai, I think about a great person and
friend who dedicated much of his life to the Department of Mechanical
Engineering. His primary concern above all was the welfare of the students and
department. His actions have always reflected this. For many years prior to
his retirement, Professor Chai had personally advised each and everyone of the
mechanical engineering seniors. I recall his advice to me about attending
graduate school almost 20 years ago. It was his personal concern and belief in
you that were always encouraging and inspiring. He touched the lives of many,
many students, and we owe much of our success to him.
All of his good deeds and sacrifices for the ME department are too numerous to
describe to you today. Of most importance, however, was his profound influence
in the ME department earned by years of wise advice and dedication. He always
emphasized taking care of the students, excellence in teaching, and building
research programs. I believe that Professor Chai was largely responsible for
the Departmentís long history of teaching excellence, producing four Regents
Medals and Presidential Citations in teaching excellence, of which he himself
was a recipient.
After Professor Chai retired, he had wished to establish a faculty teaching
award for professors in all three departments of the College of Engineering
that would reward and encourage excellence in teaching, ultimately for the
benefit of the students. Through his personal donation, the Dr. Hi Chang Chai
Excellence in Teaching Award Endowment Fund was established in 1998. I
personally know that Professor Chai had to be persuaded to have the award bear
his name, as this was not his intention. With this award, Professor Chaiís
influence on teaching excellence will be felt for years to come in the College
On a more personal level, I would like to share with you why I believe
Professor Chai was loved by his students and respected by his colleagues.
Professor Chai was a GOOD friend, the type that one is fortunate to know, but
rare and difficult to find. He always showed genuine concern. He was someone
that you could trust, someone that always gave good counsel, and someone that
always encouraged you to do the right thing even if it was not easy. He was
wise, had a very good understanding of human nature, and chose to use his
knowledge in helping others. He could make you aware of your weaknesses so
that you might overcome them, rather than use them against you. I have always
found his advice to be truthful which could be painful, but always with good
intentions and never critical or harsh. I know that I among many others here
today and the many that were not able to attend were fortunate to have been
blessed with his friendship and grateful to have know him.
Thank you my friend and colleague Professor Hi Chang Chai.