Pan Wen Ping, who was born in 1894 in Beijing, arrived at the University of Minnesota as the first Chinese student in 1914 with the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship. He studied at St. John’s University in Shanghai and transferred to Tsinghua College where he graduated in 1913. Shortly after his arrival, Pan encouraged his older brother Wen Huen Pan and friends Yih Kum Kwong and Ching Ling Bau to come to Minnesota as students.
Pan received his bachelor of science in chemistry in 1918, followed by another degree in metallurgical engineering in 1919. He was actively involved in various clubs and served as the first president of the Chinese Student Club, the vice-president of the Cosmopolitan Club, and in the cabinet of the Y.M.C.A. He also sang in the Glee Club as a second tenor. Aside from academic prowess, Pan was also an excellent athlete, playing on the soccer team. Pan was elected captain of the soccer team in 1915 and 1916, after the 1914 championship season. He also played on the University’s tennis team. Prior to attending the University of Minnesota, he participated in the 1913 First Far East Games in Manila and became the first Chinese athlete to win a medal.
Pan worked as an engineer for the Oliver Mining Division in Hibbing, Minnesota, for 40 years, retiring in 1959.