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The new UMAA chapter in Guangzhou

Members of the Guangzhou chapter in southern China.

New alumni chapter in China

From eNews, December 15, 2005

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) recently launched its sixth alumni chapter in the People's Republic of China. The Guangzhou chapter in southern China also brings to 21 the total number of alumni chapters outside the United States.

"The UMAA-Guangzhou chapter builds on the University's long relationship with China and its leading role in educating Chinese students," says Margaret Sughrue Carlson, UMAA chief executive officer. "More than 8,000 have graduated from the U of M since 1914--more than any other University in the U.S.--and we are delighted that so many have stayed connected to the U and each other through their local alumni chapters."

Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton by Westerners, is in the Pearl River (Zhujiang) delta about 100 miles northwest of Hong Kong. With a population of more than six million, it is one of China's most important ports and international trade centers. The other chapters in China are located in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Xi'an.

More than 50 guests, including University President Bob Bruininks and graduates of the Carlson School of Management's China Executive MBA (CHEMBA) program (based at Sun Yat-Sen University's Lingnan College in Guangzhou), attended the celebration. Speakers included Huang Daren, president of Sun Yat-Sen University; Hong Yang, director of the U's China Center on the Twin Cities campus; and Simon Wong (B.A. '74, B.S. '75), president of the UMAA-Hong Kong Chapter and Kampery Group of Hong Kong.

China Center at the U

The U established the China Center 1979 on the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis to manage its exchanges with the People's Republic of China. Chinese students first attended the University in 1914 until China closed down to foreign influences. When it reopened its doors to the West in 1979, University leaders were the first higher education officials to reach out to potential students. Today there are more than 1,200 visiting Chinese scholars and students at the University, the largest population on a North American campus. To learn more, see China Center.

James Wu, a prominent Hong Kong businessman who has been a friend of the U for many years and was instrumental in the establishment of the CHEMBA program, donated HK$5,000 to the new 150-member Guangzhou chapter. Pepsi China supplied the beverages for the event.

UMAA has 34 chapters across the United States, with another 17 in Minnesota. A board of directors or a committee runs a chapter, and its responsibilities each year include planning and promoting one or more alumni activities that support student scholarship fundraising, student recruitment, and mentoring. For more information on the UMAA and its chapters, visit the UMAA Web site.