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True blue Cal ambassadors: local Cal Parents’ outreach transcends language, border

By David Peterkofsky

David Jay ’81 isn’t just a proud UC Berkeley alumnus. Along with his wife, Meg, he’s an equally proud Cal parent to daughter Emily ’18 — and the Jays are active Cal Parents ambassadors to boot.

Employing his Cantonese skills on behalf of the Cal Parents program, David volunteered to make welcome calls to the families of 20 incoming freshmen last fall. “I did my best with my broken Cantonese,” David says modestly, though his working knowledge of the language didn’t stop him from happily volunteering to call another 20 Cantonese-speaking families this year.

David’s volunteer work reflects the Jays’ understanding of Berkeley’s place in the world—a place where many of the world’s brightest young minds, regardless of nationality or background, come together to make a difference.

Along those lines, the family recently offered to assist the university in a new, and especially timely, way. Earlier this year, David and Meg, who live just south of San Francisco, generously offered to host a Berkeley international student concerned about leaving the country due to the federal government’s efforts to impose new travel restrictions.

“The travel ban has thousands of students frightened,” Meg notes. “The angst of having to prematurely end, or risk ending, an education at Berkeley is real.”

They spoke with the Berkeley International Office about their offer of a spare bedroom in their home (their older daughter, Sara, now lives on her own). They didn’t wind up taking in a student, but David and Meg say the offer will stand again next summer and possibly for as long as the debate about the travel restrictions continues.

“Berkeley bringing in extraordinary students from all over the nation and the globe is a gift,” Meg says.

Spoken like a true ambassador.

A note of gratitude from campus

“Throughout these challenging times, it’s inspiring to see messages of hope from the campus and local community,” says Amy Griggs Veramay, lead adviser for undergraduates at the Berkeley International Office. “The need for offers like the Jays’ may not be going away anytime soon, so we are grateful for the support of the university community, including the Cal Parents family, for ensuring that our students know that they are welcome here.”