Following the usual mystery and secrecy, the 2009-2010 Educator of the Year for Pacific Union College was announced in an all-school colloquy on May 28. By way of clues, business professor and chair of the Faculty Development, Research, and Honors Committee Keith Neergaard said the awardee tends to wear white, has lived in two different hemispheres, plays guitar, is a first-generation Seventh-day Adventist, and is just finishing his third year teaching at PUC. He then announced the name: biology professor Brian Wong.
A slideshow compiled by Wong's family told some of the story of his past, from being born the youngest of six (and the only boy) to a family in Hong Kong to his decision to follow Christ at age 12 to marrying his high school sweetheart, teaching in Trinidad and Nebraska, and his enjoyment of fishing, ping pong, and Chinese food. "His ultimate goal is to share God with his students," the family recounted. "He believes teaching gives him the platform to spread God's word."
Two of Wong's students and two of his colleagues shared tributes to Wong. Rachel Devadhason, a senior biochemistry major, summed up the most commonly noted attribute: "Dr. Wong is pure energy." She added that he "sets the highest standards possible for his students" and exhibits a strong work ethic himself. When Devadhason began assisting Wong in the cancer prevention research he has been doing since the early 1990s, she also "came to realize how patient he is."
Senior biology major Dinh "Tom" Nguyen added, "I only wish I could have his patience, kindness, and passion."
In addition to energy, the presenters all emphasized the passion Wong displays and the deep caring he exhibits for students. "Dr. Wong brings passion and enthusiasm to everything he does," biology chair and 2008-2009 Educator of the Year Robin Vance said. "I think students selected him for many reasons, but the most notable to me is the caring concern he shows for each and every student."
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