Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Darden Family

Five weeks ago, I stepped onto Darden’s perfectly manicured campus, walked through the double doors of Saunders Hall, filed into a signup line, and clipped on my name tag: Jeff Tang, MBA Class of 2013.

It was the beginning of my new life journey, and an introduction to a new community.

The concept of the “Darden Family” is a well-constructed one.  And, it is very real.  The school and its faculty are incredibly supportive and wise, just like your parents.  Classmates really are like siblings.  You spend hours at a time together in close confines.  You laugh together, learn together, disagree with each other, and learn to love each other. 

But for me, the words “Darden Family” have a different meaning because my real family is also part of my Darden family.  Ten years ago, I met my best friend Jeff Campbell on the campus of Northwestern University.  To this day, Jeff and I have almost identical interests- we were both television journalists, we play lots of sports, dance like goofballs to country music, have a desire to make everything a competition, and possess a nose for good coffee and red wine.  I’m proud to say that on that fateful day in August 2011, Jeff also clipped on his Darden MBA Class of 2013 name tag.  Jeff’s wife Beth, also a dear friend from my Northwestern days, made the move to Charlottesville too.

It doesn’t end there.  It turns out, Jeff has a younger sister and I have a younger brother.  Liz Campbell met Aaron Tang at me and Jeff’s graduation in 2004.

(Can you guess where this is going?)

On August 6th, 2011, the two younger siblings married in Keystone, Colorado.  One week later, Liz Campbell Tang clipped on her nametag and joined the class of 2013 at Darden as well.

I know.  It’s kind of crazy and more than a little confusing.  That’s why I’ve included a diagram in this blog entry- Liz created it in an effort to explain the family situation to our new classmates.

The point is we’re all together, and happy as can be.  After getting our acceptance calls from Darden, Jeff Campbell noted that the next two years might be the best ones of our lives.

So far, it hasn’t disappointed.

I’m excited to share my thoughts and experiences at Darden with you over the next two years.  And, Liz and Jeff will be posting special guest entries on this blog as well.  On behalf of them, and all of us, welcome to our lives- and welcome to our Darden Family!

Meet Everyone:

Jeff Campbell- Colorado boy…  Former TV news anchorman at the NBC station in Charlotte, NC… all-star intramural sports athlete…  avid Denver Broncos fan...  elected Section C Representative at Darden…

Beth Campbell- Jeff Campbell’s wife… the glue of the family… resident sparkplug and expert chef… political junkie… former TV news reporter for the NBC station in Charlotte… Richmond native…

Liz Campbell Tang- Jeff Campbell’s younger sister… former environmental engineer who always thinks green… graduated from Washington University in St. Louis… softball catcher who shares athletics representative duties for Section D at Darden…
Aaron Tang- Jeff Tang’s younger brother and Liz’s husband… recently graduated from Stanford Law School and is now working for a DC law firm remotely from Charlottesville… Yale graduate… expert at 1990s role playing video games…

Ashlee- Aaron and Liz’s cat… adopted from a shelter in St. Louis… knows how to sit and shake hands/paws (Aaron and Liz wanted a dog but are now enamored with their kitty)

Fender- One of Jeff Tang’s dogs… would try to eat Ashlee if the two ever met… rescued off the streets of Nashville during an Oktoberfest event… Part Samoyed, part collie, part chow, part Shiba-Inu, all mutt…

Sadie- Jeff Tang’s other dog… adopted from the humane society in Louisville, KY… shameless foodie and belly rub mooch… part Australian Shepherd, part American Eskimo Dog, part Akita, all mutt…

Me- former TV news reporter at the CBS station in Nashville, TN… rock climber… singer/songwriter that was part of a rock band in Nashville for four years… shameless promoter of healthy eating habits and environmentally responsible behavior…


  1. This is more complicated than my thoughts!!

  2. My favorite part of this post is the descriptions of the "characters"