Edward Rhoads speaks on "China’s First Hundred, MIT’s First Eight: The Chinese Educational Mission to the United States, 1872-81"

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 - 1:00pm

Pictured: Kwong King Yang, Civil Engineering, MIT class of 1884

Edward Rhoads, Professor Emeritus
University of Texas at Austin

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
1pm-2pm • 14N-217

The Chinese Educational Mission (CEM) sent 120 young boys to New England to study for fifteen years. These were the first group of students to be sent to the United States by the Chinese government - predecessors of the post-1979 wave of Chinese now studying in the U.S. I will focus on the eight of the 120 who wound up eventually at MIT: Who were they? What were their experiences during their stay in the U.S.? What happened to them after their return to China?

Edward Rhoads was born in January 1938 in Guangzhou, China, on the campus of Lingnan University (his father was an English professor and his mother was a native of Guangzhou). He spent the war years in China, first in Hong Kong and then in Chongqing, and the postwar years back in Guangzhou. At Lingnan, he attended both a Western school and a regular Chinese elementary school; he was in the fifth grade of the Chinese school when the Communists took Guangzhou in October 1949. He and his family left China in February 1951; they resettled in 1952 in Springfield, Massachusetts., where, in 1956, he graduated from high school. His early educational experiences hark back to those of the students of the Chinese Educational Mission 80 years earlier. Rhoads received his B.A. from Yale in 1960 and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1970, specializing in the history of modern China. In 1967, he started teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, from which he retired 36 years later in 2003. He spent two years in Taiwan (1965 and 1974-75) and one in China (1982-83, at People’s University in Beijing); in 2007, after his retirement, he also taught for a semester at Lingnan University, Hong Kong.

Sponsor: Global Borders Research Collaborative in MIT Global Studies and Languages