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Chair of Student Happiness

If there is one thing that sets Caltech apart from all other schools, aside from its terrific size and ratio and all the jazz you get to hear about from the admissions officers, it would be one single man on campus. Not because he’s any nicer or easygoing than anybody else on campus, but because he plays a role literally unparalleled at other universities (at least that I know of; it would be difficult at other places due to size of student body). Allow me to talk a bit of the "chair of student happiness" Tom Mannion.

Tom(everybody calls him Tom, I’ve yet to hear "Mr. Mannion") is the teacher of our cooking class (definitely the most popular class on campus) and opens his house to student activities many more times than I can count.Now, my job isn’t to eulogize or to praise, but perhaps through this little anecdote you’ll get an idea of what Tom is to our campus.Back on the basketball team, apparently Tom once took us out to dim sum and I ate a lot, or so he says, and now he remembers me as the biggest eater ever. Anyways, I found out about the weekly ice cream socials that he hosts at his place (I didn’t know about this before!) over the summer, and I went out to one this time. Since I happened to go at the end, I went ahead and helped clean up, and few of us that had also stayed to clean up got a chance to chat with him.So we’re sitting around this sofa, and suddenly Tom goes "Yubo, I remember we went to that huge dim sum place and you ate all those plates of food. Man we should go again. Hey everybody, who else wants to go to dim sum tomorrow for lunch." We raise our hands, and suddenly we’re on for dim sum tomorrow, party of 12.This was freaking awesome. In a matter of a minute, this faculty member suddenly decided to treat us to lunch the next day. This is something that friends will sometimes do, decide on a lunch tomorrow, but for afaculty member to do this makes him really feel much more like a friend than staff, and it’s only when he orders twice as much as you can eat and doesn’t bat an eye at the bill that you remember he has an enormous budget to keep students happy.But yeah, I stuffed my face full at the dimsum, my friend ate so much he was starting to fall asleep at the table, yet we all still were required to take food home as leftovers, quite a bit at his insistence. I skipped dinner that night…below is a picture of about 3/4s of the food, because the rest either was already gone or hadn’t even made it on yet.