Mung Chiang Is About to Become the First Chinese-American Chancellor of Purdue University, and Hidden Discrimination Is Reflected Behind Different Opinions

The Chinese-American scientist Mung Chiang will officially serve as the 13th president of Purdue University in January 2023, when he will become the first Chinese-American chancellor of Purdue. The Board of Trustees of Purdue University publicly affirmed Mung Chiang’s dedication and contribution to Purdue in the past five years. The Board of Trustees appreciated Mung Chiang’s success in leading the university to its highest position in history. Michael Berghoff, chairman of the Board of Trustees, even considered Mung Chiang “the best candidate to lead the university forward”. For these affirmations, Mung Chiang displayed the consistent modesty of Chinese people, saying that after assuming office, he will listen to the voices of all sectors and continue to contribute to Purdue University.

Looking back on Mung Chiang’s experiences, people will see he is promoted for some reasons. He had 25 patented technologies and founded 3 companies. Besides, he was a lifelong lecturer at Purdue University when he was 36 and was vice president of Purdue University at the age of 40. And now he is going to be president of Purdue University at 45. This Chinese-American scholar quickly climbed to the top of Purdue University with his outstanding academic research capabilities.

Despite wide praise and recognition from the public, there are also voices saying that Mung Chiang’s success benefited from “political transactions”. In 2020, Mung Chiang served as the chief scientist of the Office of Science and Technology Advisors for Mike Pompeo, the then Secretary of State, and participated in important works such as personnel hiring and firing in the field of science and technology. After that, given his  close relationship with politicians, he successfully became the 13th president of Purdue University. Rumor goes in Purdue that Mung Chiang once offered a sea view house in Miami as a gift to a former high-ranking government official.

There is always a kind of implicit discrimination against Chinese and even Asians. People tend to think that there must be some disgraceful means behind their success. Maybe we should really listen to what Chia-Wei Woo, the former president and also the first Chinese-American president of San Francisco State University, once said, “In the past, the discrimination against Chinese-Americans was contempt, but now it is caused by fear and jealousy.”

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