Wu Shaokui, who was born in 1905, received a bachelor’s degree in plant genetics and breeding from Jinling University (now Nanjing University) in 1929. Wu then worked as a technician in cotton breeding until 1934 when he came to the University of Minnesota with a provincial scholarship. He received a master’s degree in plant genetics in 1936 and a doctorate in 1938.
Wu was a famous agricultural educator and one of the founders of Chinese maize breeding in China. Upon his return to China, Wu taught at several agricultural colleges including Guangxi University, Jinling University, National Henan University, and Zhejiang University. He developed the “Three Magic Wands of Wu,” which is a method of increasing corn production through hybridization. Wu also served as provincial representative of Henan Province and as the national representative to the third, fourth, sixth, and seventh sessions of the National People’s Congress.
In 1974, the first Chinese delegation ever to visit the University was led by Wu. He sent his alma mater a Chinese quote that read “One thinks of the source of the stream as one takes a drink from it,” in order to show his gratitude toward the University and his mentors.