Faculty & Staff

The work of University of Minnesota faculty and staff is essential in maintaining and strengthening ties between the University and China. Many faculty and staff have led the way in addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems, advocating for Chinese studies on campus, and encouraging the exchange of U.S. and Chinese students.

Early Pioneers

Professor Quigley with students in China

Professor Harold Quigley pictured with students at Tsinghua College in China.


University professor Harold S. Quigley, form the department of political science, was one of the pioneers in developing University-China collaborations. He taught at China’s Tsinghua College from 1921 to 1923. Upon his return to the University, professor Quigley taught the course “Far Eastern Government and Politics,” which was considered the first such course to be offered in the U.S.

In 1973, University Professor Robert Poor, a well-known Bronze Age archaeologist, traveled to China and gave two lectures as part of a U.S. delegation to China. It was the second U.S. delegation to China, following President Richard Nixon’s first U.S. delegation to China in 1972. Also in 1973, the Chinese government invited University Professor Chih-Chun Hsiao to give a lecture in China. He had the distinction of being one of the first U.S.-based, China-born scientists to receive such an invitation.

University Professor Jack C. Merwin, from the College of Education and Human Development, joined the first delegation of professional educators to China in 1974. The following year, University Professor Huai C. Chiang, who is credited for the extensive agricultural research partnership between the University and China, was invited by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences to visit China. Then in 1979 he hosted one of the first visiting scholars from Mainland China to Minnesota since 1949.

Also in 1979, University Medical School Professor Paul Quie and Professor Philip Peterson hosted visiting scholar Dr. Wu Xi-Ru, a research fellow in pediatric neurology. Dr. Wu went on to become a famous Chinese pediatric neurologist and has been facilitating bilateral research exchanges with the University since then. 


Chinese Studies Established

In 1949, University Professor Richard Mather established the Chinese language and literature program at the University of Minnesota. For nearly four decades, Professor Mather served as the major force for Chinese studies at the University. He was highly respected in the field of early medieval Chinese studies because of his monumental translation work on the topic.

Professor Richard Mather

Professor Richard Mather


Professor CJ Liu

Professor Chun-Jo Liu


Legendary Leadership

University Professor Chun-Jo Liu, who taught East Asian languages, spent her life building bridges between the University and China. She helped the University become one of the first U.S. universities to reach out to China in 1979. She also led trips for University professors and students, set up exchange programs, and worked to improve curriculum in the U.S. and China.