Two Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Kindergartens opened in Siyang and Qili in Lai’an county, East China’s Anhui province on Thursday.
The kindergartens are named in honor of Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, a scholar of Asian history and literature and a philanthropist.
“My mother was the foundation of our family. Since her departure on Aug 2, 2007, her absence has been felt every single day,” said Elaine L. Chao, Ruth’s daughter and former US secretary of labor.
“Though my mother left Anhui province so many years ago, she never forgot the land of her birth and her roots.”
Ruth Mulan Chu Chao was born in Anhui on March 19, 1930. She was one of the few women of her generation to receive an education. She attended Ming-Teh Girls High School in Nanjing. Though her studies were interrupted by war, she did not give up her desire for an education.
She earned a master’s degree in Asian literature and history from St John’s University in New York when she was 53 years old.
“Believing in the Chinese philosophy that education is the key to betterment, to advancement, my parents always credited their education to their ability to survive and excel in a foreign land and a world of constant change,” Chao said.
“To commemorate my mother’s emphasis on education, her love for her native province, her life and her legacy, it is very fitting that my father has made this significant contribution to help the children of Lai’an County have better access to education for the benefit of their families and society in her name,” Chao said.
The Chao Family Foundations denoted over $1 million to each kindergarten.
“As China grows in importance on the world stage, it is critical that its citizens become more educated, more worldly, to understand and interact with the rest of the world in an increasingly connected global world,” Chao said.
Each of the kindergarten will have about 500 students. The opening ceremonies were packed with parents who were so grateful to the Chao family’s contribution to the community.
“We hope the children and their families will study the life and legacy of Mrs Ruth Mulan Chu Chao and emulate her spirit of determination, perseverance, altruism and love. We hope they will be inspired by her spirit in their own lives,” Chao said.
“I believe the kids will receive great education here. Education will inspire them and help them to realize their Chinese dreams. I hope they make great contributions to the society,” Angela Chao, youngest daughter and deputy chairman of Foremost Group, said.
Dr James S. C. Chao, father of the family and chairman of Foremost Group, Angela, and son-in-law Jim Breyer also attended the ceremony.
The last time the Chao family was in Lai’an was to attend the inaugural ceremony opening the Lai’an Hall of Fame and Mrs Ruth Mulan Chu Chao’s induction into it in November of 2014.
Dr Chao was moved that Lai’an county wanted to honor his late wife, who was so instrumental in the success of the Chao family.