Premier of R.O.C., Taiwan, elected to Board of TrusteesLien Chan first foreign national to be named to board
Lien Chan (A.M.'61, Ph.D.'65), premier of the Republic of China on Taiwan, has been elected to the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago.
"Lien Chan brings extraordinary distinction to the University's Board of Trustees," said President Sonnenschein. "He is a national and international statesman, teacher and scholar and a particularly loyal alumnus. We are delighted that he has agreed to join our board."
Lien is the first foreign national to be named to its Board of Trustees. He has been premier of the Republic of China on Taiwan since 1993.
After receiving his doctorate in political science from Chicago, Lien taught at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Connecticut. In 1968, he returned to Taiwan, where he served as professor and later chairman of the political science department at National Taiwan University. In 1969, he became an adviser to the Republic of China's U.N. ambassador.
Lien was named his nation's ambassador to El Salvador in 1975. A year later, he returned to the Republic of China to become director of youth affairs in the Central Committee of the Nationalist Party. In 1978, he became the party's deputy secretary-general.
From 1981 until 1987, Lien served as the Republic of China's minister of communications. He then was named vice premier and, in 1988, minister of foreign affairs. He was governor of Taiwan Province from 1990 to 1993.
Lien was awarded the Alumni Medal, the University's highest alumni honor, in 1991. Given sparingly since its establishment in 1941, the Alumni Medal is awarded for extraordinary distinction in one's career and extraordinary service to society. Other recipients of the Alumni Medal include Nobel laureate Jerome Friedman, author Susan Sontag and former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark.
Upon receiving his Alumni Medal, Lien remarked that at Chicago, "I learned that the mind can stretch beyond any wall of limitations. It was here, too, where I realized that I could ask much more of myself. That I could take risks and leap over boundaries. Most of all, it was here where I finally grasped an old Chinese saying, 'Learning is like rowing a boat upstream. You can either strive onward or be swept back.' "
Lien has been instrumental in establishing an endowment for an exchange program between the University and National Taiwan University. He is also honorary chairman of the University of Chicago Club of Taiwan.