By Bonnie Dickson
DAVIS, Calif.; Aug. 20, 2017 – Never give up and always see things through to completion. These were the life lessons imparted by Alfred Chuang, UC Davis alumnus and founder and CEO of Magnet Systems, Inc., in his address to more than 650 graduating seniors at the College of Engineering’s 2017 spring commencement.
During his remarks, Chuang reflected on his experiences growing up in Hong Kong and the obstacles he faced securing a visa to study and work in the United States.
“For us immigrants, and for those who are not – your parents, your grandparents or great great-grandparents are likely immigrants – we had to fight and hustle just to stay in America,” Chuang said.
Even after his initial student visa application was rejected, Chuang was determined to study in America. He eventually secured a visa and went on to earn a bachelor’s in computer science from the University of San Francisco and a master’s in computer science with a specialization in distributed data management from UC Davis in 1986.
Chuang then worked for Sun Microsystems, Inc., a former Silicon Valley computer systems and software company, before co-founding an enterprise software company, BEA Systems. As BEA’s CEO and chairman of the board, Chuang oversaw a risky acquisition that resulted in the company missing its next earnings goal and losing 50 percent of its stock value.
Despite the significant setback, Chuang refused to give up.
“We worked extremely hard, and eventually our strategy prevailed. BEA became the biggest system supplier for e-commerce in the world,” he said.
Chuang encouraged graduates to never give up, even in the face of discouraging setbacks, because the world’s greatest innovations are still ahead.
“I can’t think of a more exciting time in the technology industry,” Chuang concluded. “And I certainly can’t imagine a more prepared group of talents to embark on further advancing the world and making it a better place.”