This past Tuesday, the University of California and the city of Davis lost one of our greatest leaders, Ted Adams. I had the privilege of knowing Ted as a student at UC Davis, and directly with his role as adviser to the Picnic Day board of directors, back in the late 1980s and early ’90s.
I spent five years working in various roles with the Picnic Day board, but my interaction with Ted was richest in my last when I was chair of the board. The hardest task to have is to limit the many ways in which Ted influenced in a positive way every individual lucky enough to know him.
As an adviser to the board, Ted was the consummately calm, wise and humorous influence, consistent from year to year. While the event itself is truly student-run, Ted’s influence and ability to inspire both creativity and competence in these young and upcoming students was invaluable.
That influence was all the more important because it was so obvious he did this from a place of affection and respect. Each of us became better managers, better people, directly because of Ted’s part in our lives.
There are few individuals who you can call a mentor, or whose lessons are so valuable and influential in your life that you share them with family and especially your own children. As I rear my own teenagers now, I draw from my own experience with Ted to help, and I believe that is the best thanks I can give to Ted for his love and inspiration to me as a student.
His lessons, appreciation for action and balance, are the best part of what I do today. I am so grateful to have known Ted, and his influence and spirit will carry on through my family and, I am certain, in myriad others.