Hall of Fame

Gregory Chang

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

Some people say you can’t have it all. These people clearly haven’t seen Greg Chang’s resume: All-American Fencer. All-Ivy accolades. NCAA finalist. Harvard Medical School Degree. Olympian. In 1994, Greg was the U.S. Under-19 National Champion in men’s foil. In 1996, Greg finished second at the NCAA Individual Fencing Championships, earning All-America honors along the way. In 1997, he finished 11th place, good enough for Honorable Mention All-America honors. Both years Greg garnered First Team All-Ivy accolades. He was also awarded the George Breed Award which goes to the fencer who has contributed the most to the team. In addition to his success as a fencer, Greg was named a Third Team GTE/Verizon-CoSIDA Academic All-American and was a First Team Academic All-Ivy selection in 1997 during his senior year. After graduation, Greg remained in Boston to attend Harvard Medical School. After winning the bronze medal at the U.S. Fencing Association Division I National Championships in 1998, Greg decided to put his medical career on hold and took time off to train in Europe with the hopes of one day qualifying for the Olympics. Sixteen years after he started fencing and seven years after he started medical school, Greg again won the bronze at the 2004 U.S. National Championships and soon found out he would be heading to Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games. Greg became the first Harvard fencer to represent the United States since John G. Hurd ’34 in 1936.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

I would like to thank the selection committee for bestowing me with this great honor. I feel very fortunate and humbled to be standing here this evening among such an amazing group of athletes. When I arrived at Harvard as a freshman in the fall of 1992, I was this skinny, eager, Asian kid from Lexington, Mass. who didn’t know what he wanted to do or who he would become. Cambridge was so exciting – you’re meeting so many talented and intellectually gifted people in such a concentrated space.

And those people inspire you. From my neighbor, who would practice his cello several hours a day and later became a Deutsche Grammophone recording artist, to my study group for Chem 17 (organic chemistry), who would work tirelessly on problem sets until they understood every detail of each electron pathway.

And then, of course there were the athletes. My roommate, Chris Patrick, and I chose Kirkland House, and I took a quiet pride in being part of the “jock” house. I fell into a routine in college – go to class, go to fencing practice, study, sleep.

Weekends were for tournaments. I was working my ass off, but it felt so normal. I was amazed by the athletic talent and intellectual capacities of my classmates. And seeing everyone in that Kirkland dining hall at dinner in those gray Department of Harvard Athletic sweats really gave you a sense of belonging, that it was all worth it.

I enjoyed my concentration, biochemical sciences, and I loved fencing. But enjoyment alone won’t bring you success. I would not have gone anywhere without the atmosphere at Harvard, where you have teachers, classmates, and teammates motivating you, inspiring you to think big, and pushing you to strive for excellence. By the time you graduate, you feel that there are no limits, that there are no boundaries to what you can accomplish. In retrospect, these values and this outlook on life were the greatest lessons that I learned at Harvard. They helped me reach my goals as an athlete, and they help me now as a radiologist and researcher investigating new methods to improve the diagnosis of osteoporosis.

I would like to thank all of my teammates from the Harvard Fencing Team. One of my greatest thrills was bringing home the Ironman Trophy with Brian Osserman and Eddie Kim as winners of the men’s team foil competition at the 1996 Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships. This trophy, cast in 1893, is the oldest in collegiate sports. Kwame Van Leeuwen, a 2010 Hall of Fame inductee, was a great leader and his individual victory at the 1994 NCAA Championships really marked the beginning of a new era for Harvard Fencing. I would like to thank Coach Ben Zivkovic, and I owe many thanks to my childhood coach, and former Harvard Assitant Coach, Gamil Kaliouby. He pushed me to the edge of my physical capacities for eight years and gave me the technical foundation that would later help me succeed. I am finally indebted to my coach in Europe, Philippe Blanchet. He expanded my understanding of the game and allowed me to reach my true potential as an athlete. Walking in the closing ceremonies at the 2004 Olympic Games was my childhood dream come true.

None of this would have been possible without the support of my family. Mom and Dad, thank you for supporting me in every endeavor I have pursued. Thank you for driving us to all those fencing practices and flying us to tournaments, and helping me continue to train during medical school, long after any sane person would have stopped. Thank you for supporting my decision to take all those years off from college and medical school and move to Europe, even when many of our relatives questioned what I was doing in Europe and whether I would graduate. Dad, thank you above all for introducing me to fencing. Heidi, you were the best big sister I could hope for. You have always served as a role model for me, and now you have two beautiful daughters who will in turn look up to you. Tim, my brother, we had an amazing ride growing up and fencing together. You always inspired me every step of the way, and I always hoped that I would one day I would be as athletically talented and mentally strong as you. Watching you compete at the Junior World Gregory Chang (continued)

Championships against hometown favorite Carlos Rodriguez (the eventual silver medalist) with a thousand people cheering against you made me realize how strong you are. Kaiden and Meilina will be inspired by you as a man and father. And to my beautiful fiancée, Ali. You mean the world to me. It’s crazy that fencing took me to Europe eight years ago, where I met you, and now you’re here by my side. I can’t wait to marry you and start the rest of our lives together.

Thank you so much to the Varsity Club, to Harvard University, and to my family. I am who I am, and I am where I am because of you. Congratulations to all the athletes. I am grateful and honored to be here.