The Chang Family Scholarship
On November 10, 1996, the "Franklin Templeton Chang Challenge," a benefit exhibition between Michael Chang, the world's number two-ranked tennis player and John McEnroe, one of the sport's all-time greats, was held indoors at Cal's Harmon Gym with proceeds going to the Chang Family Scholarship. The event was a rematch of the inaugural 1994 event which funded 25 percent of the men's tennis scholarship endowment in the Chang family's name.
Thanks to the active involvement of Franklin Templeton, Chang's sponsors, Prince and Reebok, several thousand Bear Backers filling Harmon Gym and a live national TV broadcast on Prime Sports, the 1996 "Franklin Templeton Chang Challenge" was one of the biggest events ever to hit Cal's athletic program generating an additional $130,000 in contributions to the endowment.
Intelligence has been the cornerstone of Chang's success. Yet even if the pursuit of knowledge has brought Chang to the summit of professional tennis, equally important to the Chang family is their commitment to education.
"The whole idea of the tennis was to use it as a means of getting into a good school," said Carl Chang (Cal '91), Michael's brother, coach and practice partner.
"In our family, education is the number one priority," said Michael. "Make no mistake, I have every intention of attending college when my pro career is over."
Accordingly, the scholarship is designed to reward both on-court prowess and academic achievement.
The genesis of the Chang Family Scholarship occurred several years ago, inspired by then-coach Scott McCain, Wright, Carl, who earned a varsity letter each of his four years at Cal, and Advantage International Vice President Tom Ross (Cal '79), Michael's agent.
"The Changs wanted to give something back to Berkeley," said Wright. "For an athlete of Michael's stature to donate his time to something like this is unprecedented."
Due to the success of the "Chang Challenge," their vision has now become a reality. Sophomore Chris Santoso follows Casey Louie, last year's recipient, becoming the second Cal player to benefit from the Chang Family Scholarship.