29 Feb T Z Chu ’52 Honoured for his Contributions to America
We take great pride and pleasure in announcing that our Distinguished Alumnus T Z Chu has been chosen among 20 immigrants in the USA, to be featured in National Museum of American History’s (NMAH) new permanent exhibit, ‘Many Voices One Nation’, as someone who had made significant contributions to America. The exhibit will be formally opened on 4th of July 2017.
This is a great honour for T Z Chu and Woodstock; we hope you will join us in congratulating him on this remarkable occasion. T Z Chu’s story is an inspiring one. His mother was Japanese and his father, Chinese. They were forced out of China by the advance of the Chinese Communist army. They left China on December 28, 1948 and arrived at Mumbai on January 1, 1949, after a two-day stop at Hong Kong and overnight (New Year Eve) at Saigon. When TZ arrived at Woodstock he didn’t speak English. Four years later, he graduated with the Best All Around Student Award and served as the student body president. He moved on to major in Physical chemistry (University of California, Berkeley) and made a career of making analytical instruments for chemists and life scientists. He speaks French and German, and has served on the board of Woodstock School and Friends of Woodstock Foundation in the US.
T Z Chu speaks of the Smithsonian in his class letter, ‘According to the curators, “The Smithsonian is undertaking a major initiative to explore the impact of immigration on American culture….You are one of the handful of individuals we are asking to share personal stories of challenge, risk and entrepreneurial success that will help us develop a thoughtful, comprehensive immigration exhibition…. We are aware of your personal journey from China (and India) and your pioneering work in the analytical instrumentation field here in the United States. Your success has influenced the global outlook of American companies and has been an inspiration to new generations of immigrants who continue to remake America”.
T Z Chu continued to say, “The unedited and longer version is available for researchers, according to NMAH”. I pointed this out to you because you would read how important was my experience at Woodstock in shaping my career. My subsequent experience working with different principals, alumni leaders, and key staff members – especially Jane Cummings and David Wheeler at KWI/FWS, also taught me and shaped my views toward practical philanthropy and its relevance to education.
Last week T Z Chu met up with NMAH curators. Jane Cummings (Woodstock Board member) was also present. In his own words: “She was very helpful in filling the voids about my relationship with Woodstock over the past two decades, ever since she recruited me to join the board of KWI, the predecessor of FWS”.
“The meeting was very interesting. The curators showed us the space on the second floor of the Museum that has been set aside for the exhibit. It and its companion exhibit “Democracy in America” occupies about one-quarter of the entire floor. They also took us to visit the big store-room on the fifth floor where all the display items for the planned exhibit are kept – quite fascinating. After the meeting and lunch with the curators, Jane and I made a quick tour of this enormous museum – the only museum in the US that represents all of America, instead of just different regions or state or cities and villages”.
I handed over the various items that the curators asked me to bring with me and went through a brief explanation of each item and answered many questions. I also left behind a memory stick with a few photos of my early days in China and India. The curators also asked for additional items which I would provide during the next meeting at San Francisco in March”. –T Z Chu
Please post your comments in the space provided below if you’d like to congratulate T Z Chu.
Feature photo: Lalitha Krishnan