Provost says farewell
Huang honored during ceremony
Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Updated: Saturday, July 25, 2009 16:07
Cardboard cutouts are traditionally reserved for only those who truly shape the world: Presidents, Darth Vader and Marilyn Monroe to name a few.
Apparently, University of Northern Colorado Provost and Vice President Allen Huang was worthy of his own fiber-bound likeness, which stood among the many in Centennial Hall Thursday afternoon, where Huang's farewell ceremony took place.
Deans, professors and university administrators were among the many that attended the ceremony, as well as Haung's family. Attention was called to the podium, where UNC President Kay Norton gave a speech detailing her experiences with Huang.
Norton opened her speech describing Huang's early years at UNC, where he had started as a term faculty member of the special education department. From there, Huang rose through the ranks, achieving dean of the university's graduate school before finally stepping into the role of Provost, which he has held for four years out of the 29 he has spent at the university.
Norton called Huang a tireless ambassador for the university, as a traveler renowned for his ability to recruit, as well as an administrator ripe with diligence and integrity.
"I could not have asked for more; not only for being trustworthy and honest, but persistent enough to let me know when I might be going off the rail," Norton said. "I will tell you that as president, you don't often get people who are willing to be honest with you."
Following Norton's speech, others were invited to share their experiences with Huang.
Kim Black, director of assessment, recalled the afternoon in which a student "very large, very loud, and very angry" approached the provost's office minutes prior to a meeting. Black noted that instead of referring the student to someone else or arranging an appointment, Huang had taken the student to his office to talk.
"When he rejoined the rest of us in the meeting, we were teasing him a little bit about how 'That had to be fun'," Black said. "His response was 'It was OK. He just needed our help.'"
Sincere consideration for students and faculty were common in stories shared. Helen O'Keefe, director of the Center for International Education, mentioned that her home had been flooded, forcing her to live out of motels and hang her clothes in the back of her car.
Huang, she said, had been the only one to notice the backseat closet, the one who "thought about me as a person."
George Betts, special education professor, remarked that a trip to Huang's native Taiwan had included an unforgettable banquet dinner. Betts noted that he had not been looking forward to the required banquet, but what the banquet had in store was what Betts called the highlight of his tenure at the university.
"There were 43 graduates of UNC attending, and these are all leaders," Betts said. "And they came to this banquet to honor Allen, and to honor me and you."
Robbyn Wacker, assistant vice president for research and extended studies, mentioned that Huang had provided her memories as well, in his exemplified hard work and dedication to education.
"He has worked tirelessly to promote the value of an education, particularly the education that UNC has provided students," Wacker said. "The best part of Allen is that he challenges each and every one of us to strive for excellence."
Replacing Huang will be Abe Harraf, the previous Provost of Southern Utah University. Huang mentioned that Harraf was a strong choice for the position, which he will be leaving at the end of the month.
Calling Greeley his hometown, Huang thanked those attending for their kind words. Following his speech to the crowd, Huang expressed mixed feelings regarding his departure, excited to begin life in California, but sad to leave so much behind.
"I will miss so much; the good friends and relationships I have established in the past 29 years," Huang said. "I believe this university is a very fine university and I know it's coming into good hands."