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"Chinese Students at the University of Minnesota: The First Ten Years (1914 – 1924)" Lecture

Lecture delivered by Institute for Advanced Study Director and History Professor Ann Waltner on Tuesday, October 8,, 2013, University International Center, Room 101

As part of the China 100 celebration, Institute for Advanced Study Director and History Professor Ann Waltner spoke about Chinese students at the University of Minnesota from 1914 to 1924.

The lecture presented contextual stories about the first three students and other Chinese students at the University between 1914 and 1924. Some 45 people from the University and community came to listen, ask questions, and contribute their own knowledge to the presentation.

There was little known about the early Chinese students at the University, until recently when the University China Center hired graduate student Bi Hui to research the history of exchange between the University and China. She found bits and pieces about the lives of these students and shared them with Professor Ann Waltner. Professor Waltner put the pieces together along with some key parts of history, and a well-research family history document written by Pan Wen Ping’s grandson Larry Pan, to portray what life might have been like for these University of Minnesota alumni.

There were 61 students from China at the University during this period. They were largely from elite families, and most of them were males that enrolled in various schools at the University. Professor Waltner focused on three students, Pan Wen Ping, Pan Wen Huen, and Zhang Ji.  All of these students studied mining while at the University but had very different lives after leaving. The commonality in the life experiences that these students had was that they attended the University of Minnesota.

The most information found was about the very first student, Pan Wen Ping. Professor Waltner described the role of education and gave attendees a vivid sense of the world these brave Chinese students left and the world they came to.  She talked about the contributions they made both as students and as citizens of the world. View a video recording of the lecture and Professor Waltner's slides.

Ann Waltner is a professor in the Department of History and Director of Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at the University of Minnesota. She teaches Chinese history and world history and her research interests lie in the social history of sixteenth and seventeenth century China, comparative women’s history, and world history. She served as editor of the Journal of Asian Studies from 2000 to 2005 and has published widely on the history of Ming dynasty China. She and her graduate students were engaged in a major research project on the Matteo Ricci 1602 World Map. She also serves on the Advisory Council of University of Minnesota China Center. Visit the Institute for Advanced Study website for additional video recording of the lecture.