PHOENIX _ When David Tung was 16, he and his family moved from Shanghai in communist China to Phoenix to pursue the American dream of success and freedom.
Now, more than seven years later the Arizona State University marketing senior will be the next student member of the Arizona Board of Regents. The position is the highest position a state university student can hold.
Tung, who has been active in diversity and Asian American committees for both ASU President Lattie Coor and the city of Phoenix, was confirmed as the board's newest member by the Senate Education Committee yesterday by a 6-0 vote with little discussion.
About seven friends and acquaintences from various Asian American groups, and newspapers in the city and at ASU came to support Tung as he spoke to the committee.
Tung said with his past involvement in more than 10 volunteer groups dealing with diverse issues like business, minorities, the homeless and drug addiction, will contribute to the board.
He said that serving on the board is his way of giving back to the community that gave him the chance to live the American dream.
Tung will graduate in May 1995 after three years at ASU and two years at Phoenix College. He said he is interested in international law and plans to research law schools this summer. He supported himself through college with a fee waiver, scholarships and by working as a bank teller. Despite his teller job, Tung said he had no ambitions in the field.
Still, bank terms mingled in Tung's acceptance speech when he said that he wanted to see students get a "return for their investment." If tuition is raised, the quality of a university education also should go up, Tung said.
He also said he would like to see plans furthered to deal with an expected surge of 55,000 new students into the state university system by 2010.
But when asked about whether he supports a tuition raise, Tung said both students and regents need to understand the others' concerns.
"You dodged that one pretty good," said Sen. Stan Furman, D-Phoenix, who asked the question.
The position pays $30 for every meeting attended and travel expenses. It is the same amount received by the other regents. The student regent also has full voting rights and will serve as a non-voting member of the statewide student lobbying group, the Arizona Students' Association.
Patrick McWhortor, executive director of the student group and a former student regent, said he believed Tung would do a good job from the discussions the two have had.
"I think he's extremely well qualified," McWhortor said.
"I haven't really had a chance to get acquainted with him," said Regent Rudy Campbell. "I'm sure he's well qualified."
So far, Tung has not met the other regents, but he will meet them all at the May meeting.
Like other regents, the student regent is chosen by the governor. The office rotates yearly among the three state universities. The next student regent will come from Northern Arizona University. Other regents serve eight-year terms. Read Next Article