24 Apr 2014
Lunch Remarks by the Honorable Elaine L. Chao
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Lunch Remarks by the Honorable Elaine L. Chao
Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center Groundbreaking Celebration
Harvard Business School Board of Advisors Lunch
Harvard Business School
Boston, MA
Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thank you, Dean Nohria, for that kind introduction, and for your gracious remarks in the video we have just seen.

On behalf of my father, Dr. James S.C. Chao, my sisters, May Chao, Christine Chao, Grace Chao, and Angela Chao, and our husbands, Leader Mitch McConnell, Jeff Hwang, Gordon Hartogensis, and Jim Breyer and the grandchildren, Ben Shaver, Alexia Hartogensis and Penelope Hartogensis, Miranda Mei Chao Hwnag and Jessica Ruth Chao Hwang and my mother’s family, Aunt Chang, Uncle James Chu, Aunt Bess Tieh, Dr. June Chu, relatives Mrs. Wendy Chu and her family, we want to thank the distinguished guests who joined us today for this very special occasion: President Faust, Senator Markey, Prime Minister Rudd, Ambassador Cui, the many honorable leaders, and members of the Harvard Board of Advisors, and dear friends.

Today is another step in transforming the model of the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center we just saw in the video, into a living presence on the Harvard campus.

For the past seven years, since my mother’s passing on August 2, 2007, my father has worked on many projects bringing into reality his goal of honoring our mother’s courage, grace and philanthropic spirit would be on the road to reality. It is his way of giving back to this university, this community and this country, which have given so much to our family.

Some may ask why this center is named in honor of our mother. My father will say that Ruth Mulan Chu Chao—his beloved wife-- was the foundation of our family’s achievements. No challenge could defeat her optimism. No fear ever conquered her love. And no amount of adversity—which she experienced much in her life-- could shake her unwavering faith that a better future lay ahead. She believed in my father, and in her daughters. She taught us that education was the transformative tool that would enable each of us to reach our full potential, so we could help make the world a better place.

As the video noted, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao witnessed a world fundamentally transformed during her lifetime. That’s why she believed so strongly in the need to continue to build bridges of understanding—not only between East and West-- but between diverse societies all over the world. And she knew that education—and the exchange of ideas—are the keys to deepening our mutual understanding of one another. That’s why this Center, and the resources it will offer, is the perfect memorial to her life and legacy.

It is our hope that this Center will introduce leaders from all over the world to Ruth Mulan Chu Chao’s pioneering spirit, and inspire them to become leaders of conscience, who will create new paths forward that will make a positive difference for others.

So on behalf of my father and family, thank you again for joining us today!

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