James Chao honored by education trust

Updated: 2016-03-18 11:11

By DONG LESHUO in Washington(chinadaily.com.cn)

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James S.C. Chao, founder of the Foremost Maritime Corp, was honored at the inaugural Asians in America Leadership & Achievement Awards by the US-China Education Trust (USCET) in Washington on Thursday.

James Chao honored by education trust

The US-China Educatiion Trust held its inagural Asians in America Leadership & Acheivement Awards gala in Washington on Thursday. From left are award recipient Madhavan “MR” Rangaswami, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur; Elaine Chao, former US Labor secretary, whose father, industrialist James Chao, received an award; US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, married to Elaine Chao; and Julia Chang Bloch, ex-US ambassador and USCET presdient. CHARLENE CAI / CHINA DAILY

Former Labor secretary Elaine L. Chao accepted the award on behalf of her father.

"My father is a very generous, positive and optimistic person. It is reflective of his personality and philosophy that as he advanced, he never forgot his roots and always tried to help others," Elaine Chao said.

James Chao grew up in Jiading District outside Shanghai. He moved to the United States in 1958, settling in New York City, where his wife, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, and children rejoined him in 1961.

In 1964, after receiving his MBA from St. John's University, he founded Foremost Group, a shipping, trading and finance enterprise where he remains chairman.

"My parents are people of faith and modesty. They never set out to make money. They started out wanting only to build a better life for themselves and their family, to be good citizens of whatever community they belonged, and to be contributing members of society. Their company reflected their values: service, reliability, and integrity," Elaine Chao said.

"Their education gave them the foundation to successfully face the historic changes swirling around them – such as being forced to leave their land of birth, relocating to a new place, and moving again to America. Their education gave them the tools with which to learn, adapt and succeed in each new place," she said.

The Chao family foundation is funding construction of the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center at the Harvard Business School. It is opening in June and will be the first building named after a person of Chinese descent and the first building named after a woman on campus.

A scholarship fund has also been established to provide financial assistance to outstanding students with special emphasis on students of Chinese descent.

Last October, the Chao family returned to Anhui province, the mother's home province, and Jiading to dedicate a number of kindergartens for the rural children.

The USCET, founded by Julia Bloch, former US ambassador to Nepal, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting US-China relations through education and exchange.

Madhavan "MR" Rangaswami, founder of the Sand Hill Group, was also honored with the award.