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Woodstock | T Z Chu ’52 Honoured for his Contributions to America
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T Z Chu ’52 Honoured for his Contributions to America

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”.

Click here to read the printed (edited) interview with the National Museum of American History (NMAH) of Smithsonian Institute via the Smithsonian.

T Z Chu’s story in his own words (unedited) as told to NMAH

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

To read about our Distinguished Alumni on our website click here.

Please post your comments in the space provided below if you’d like to congratulate T Z Chu.

Feature photo: Lalitha Krishnan

14 Comments
  • Helen Dobson Arnott
    Posted at 13:25h, 29 February Reply

    TZ, you have lived a humble, creative, and worthwhile life. It is my privilege to have known you. Congratulations for being chosen to be featured in the NMAH! Much love to you and Irmgard.

  • Stephen Alter
    Posted at 19:51h, 29 February Reply

    Congratulations, T.Z.! Thank you for all of your contributions to Woodstock and for your singular stature as a global citizen,

  • William G. Kinzie
    Posted at 08:51h, 01 March Reply

    Congratulations T.Z. for attaining this singular award. It speaks both to your own contributions to American science and the nuturing of that ability derived from Woodstock. Bravo!

  • Jay Roadarmel
    Posted at 10:29h, 01 March Reply

    This is amazing and impressive! Just like you.

  • Norma Ching-Lei Poong St. John
    Posted at 12:36h, 01 March Reply

    Congratulations T.Z.. You were my hero when I was a little girl and you are still my hero. The loss of our China gave the world a wonderful global citizen.

  • Joan Merrill Machata
    Posted at 18:31h, 05 March Reply

    Congratulations and thank you for all you have done to support education and brotherhood.

  • Ellen Alter
    Posted at 21:29h, 05 March Reply

    I am very pleased to congratulate TZ (or Dao Zeun as we knew him at Woodstock in the early 1950s) for receiving this award.. I was his English teacher there when he first arrived, and he has certainly repaid all of us in his use of the English language and all his accomplishments.
    —–Ellen Alter

  • Mark Garrison
    Posted at 21:33h, 05 March Reply

    TZ, how appropriate that you should be recognized in this way by NMAH. I look upon time shared with you on Boards related to Woodstock and Kodaikanal as occasions of learning in the exercise of citizenship. fiduciary responsibility,creativity, and warm-hearted openness to all participants.

  • Ellen Alter
    Posted at 21:39h, 05 March Reply

    I am very pleased to congratulate TZ for receiving this award. I was his English teacher when he first arrived at Woodstock, and he has certainly repaid us in all of his accomplishments.
    —–Ellen Alter

  • Jane Collins Choulett
    Posted at 03:10h, 06 March Reply

    Congratulations, TZ!! What an honor! I am proud to say I knew you at Woodstock. I am so happy that your were chosen for this amazing honor. You certainly are a true global citizen, Thank you for all you have contributed to the world.

  • Peter Downs
    Posted at 05:46h, 06 March Reply

    From Peter Downs

    T.Z.! Congratulations on your selection as one of only twenty to be included in American History Museum. It has been a honor to know you. I admire your life of integrity, principle and honesty. You embody the best of Woodstock School.

  • Sharon Sauer
    Posted at 08:22h, 06 March Reply

    Congratulations! Wonderful that your life journey including all your accomplishments and generosity to many will be honored and shared with so many others! Blessings to you. Rev. Sharon Sauer, former chaplain, Woodstock International School

  • H. Hugh Mumby
    Posted at 06:40h, 07 March Reply

    TZ-Congratulations for this honor! Also, SHABASH (super well done) for all you have done and continue to do for Woodstock!!

  • George Ryerson
    Posted at 19:43h, 30 October Reply

    It was my great privilege to have worked for TZ at Finnigan for many years. TZ and Bob Finnigan were the finest managers I have ever worked for!

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