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A Welcoming Hand

Former students honor math professor with scholarship fund.

Chia Ven Pao.

It’s not unusual for professors to have a lasting impact on students. In the case of mathematics professor Chia Ven Pao, that included helping hundreds of Chinese students transition from their home country to life in America. Today, some of those students have created a scholarship fund in honor of their professor, who died in 2018.

“I didn’t know anything about America,” says Taiping He ’98 MR, ’05 PHD, who says he spent countless hours at Pao’s home along with other Chinese students. “We had to learn to drive, to open a bank account. Dr. Pao gave us a lot of information about cultural differences and how to handle them.” Pao’s wife even taught them to cook — both Chinese and American food. Pao, who came to the U.S. from Taiwan, also helped establish the Chinese Students and Scholars Friendship Association in 1981.

He, a developer at SAS who lives in Apex, N.C., started raising money for the scholarship last fall. It’s aimed at helping graduate students who have lived in China, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan and have demonstrated an interest in Chinese heritage and cultural exchange.

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