I knew when I walked into Baxter 114 a little before noon that there wouldn’t be enough room. I knew, given the topic and speaker, that people would be standing side by side. I was right.
Trustee Ray Jovanovich, having just flown from Beijing to Chicago 36 hours prior, was going to talk about the challenges ahead for China. For those of you who don’t know Ray let me give you the fighter pilot summary. Personality of your best friend…the one you have know forever. Wicked smart…no, I mean WICKED smart. A communicator who can take the absolute toughest concepts and talk about them at your level – whatever that level is. A life-long student who deeply admires the efforts of other students and who genuinely applauds their efforts.
Ray, with four slides and no notes, talked for 50 minutes about China. In the space of that time, he wrote a plan for China for the next two decades. Challenges and opportunities. Gap analysis. You name it and he covered it. Not is tech talk – in real talk. Forget some expensive consultants – Ray’s got it. Heads nodded – faculty heads, student heads, even bio major staff member heads – repeatedly.
Ray crushed it – just as Eric Wetzel had done in Chapel only minutes before.
Two things though give you a look at the talents and personality of this great man.
1. He encouraged the group to go see the presentation on China of Terrance Pigues ’14 the following day at the Celebration of Student Research. Not in any way other than one expert plugging another’s work.
2. Ray will be a broadcaster of the Super Bowl for Chinese Television. He also does MLB and NBA games. Yes, he loves and enjoys that as well.
Talk about the liberal arts in action!