President Pen-Jung Wang Made Magnificent Contributions to TCU during His Tenure of Thirteen Years


President Wang served as TCU’s president for thirteen years and his tenure ended on July 31, 2019. Consequently, on July 24, TCU held a farewell party for President Wang. Guests from Tzu Chi Foundation, Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology, Tzu-Cheng / Yi-Te Association, TCU’s faculty members, staff, students and alumni attended to express their gratitude to President Wang.

In 1986, Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital was opened to the public and badly in need of physicians. President Wang sensed this need and in 1987, although he worked full-time for National Taiwan University Hospital, he decided to come to Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital once each week to care for needy patients. Right after Tzu Chi College of Medicine was founded in 1994, President Wang and his wife chose to serve as Tzu-Cheng / Yi-Te dad and mom, respectively, in order to be with medical students. In 1998, he was appointed a TCU professor and chairperson of the Department of Pediatrics; from 2001 to 2004, he was chairperson of the School of Medicine; and from 2004 to 2006, he was dean of the College of Medicine. President Wang was appointed as TCU’s sixth president in 2006, and continued to serve until July 31, 2019.

President Wang has been associated with TCU for 25 years. During the past 25 years, higher education institutions in Taiwan placed more emphasis on institutional evaluations and accreditations, so TCU had no other choice but to face each one. President Wang led TCU to pass numerous evaluations and accreditations carried out by the Taiwan Medical Accreditation Council (TMAC), Taiwan Nursing Accreditation Council (TNAC) and the Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan (HEEACT). More than merely complying with these requirements, President Wang led TCU by upholding our founder Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s educational principles, building TCU’s unique traditions, such as leading students to serve the needy voluntarily, creating green campuses, carrying out measures for cultivating students’ characters, etc. The public came to hold TCU’s efforts in high regard, thus government agencies and other NGOs bestowed TCU with various awards, such as “Outstanding School for Character Education,” “Model School for Managing a Sustainable Campus,” “Outstanding Organization for Promoting Anti-Drug Abuse,” the “National Sustainable Development Award, etc. TCU is very proud to be 67th in THE University Impact Rankings 2019 and first in Taiwan.

President Wang cares about everyone. At school, he stood firmly behind his teams and gave them full support; to serve the needy in Taiwan and elsewhere, he reached out with TCU members to look after them. In 2009, southern Taiwan had severe flooding resulting from its deadliest typhoon, so he traveled with his colleagues from Hualien to a small town named Linbian and worked under the hot sun for a whole day, shoveling mud and cleaning streets of the affected households.

TCU’s staff were grateful to work in such a warm and loving environment, so during the farewell party, they presented a song entitled “Hand-in-Hand.” His secretary Joyce Hsiao has worked with him for thirteen years, and in her memory, President Wang never got angry and always attended to the needs of others. President Wang attended TCU’s commencement ceremony for thirteen consecutive years, but due to schedule conflicts, he never attended his children’s commencement ceremonies. President Wang cared about every TCU member, so he celebrated all his birthdays, not at home with his family, but with his colleagues at school. Joyce loved President Wang’s aphorisms, such as “Everyone wishes to change the world, but is unwilling to make a change in themselves.” “Good leadership is to nurture more leaders, rather than followers.” “We need to listen more attentively while someone speaks softly; be gentle when listening to critical comments; be ignorant when harsh words come to our ears.” President Wang led TCU with his humor and wisdom, to enable everyone to work and support each other joyfully.

President-elect Ingrid Liu shared her experiences of working with President Wang. She was deeply impressed by President Wang’s capabilities of shouldering so many responsibilities; moreover, he faced everything peacefully, no matter how hard it was. As a result, TCU members felt well-supported; furthermore, they had ample room to deal with everything.

Many TCU alumni are working at Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital as physicians, and some of them came to President Wang’s farewell party. He had been their Tzu-Cheng dad, professor and supervisor, and they looked up to President Wang as their mentor. President Wang guided them to enhance their professional skills and knowledge, and encouraged them to stay in eastern Taiwan to serve the needy here. These alumni have vivid memories of President Wang. Whenever they faced difficulties at school or the hospital, President Wang was at their sides to support them. When they got married, President and Madame Wang attended their weddings and gave them their best wishes.

The dads and moms of Tzu-Cheng / Yi-Te Association presented a sign language song titled “A Happy Face,” and Tui Tsai delivered his speech right after the performance. He pointed out that higher education institutions are now facing tough challenges, yet President Wang upheld Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s educational philosophies and stuck to TCU’s educational goals, so TCU has been able to provide high quality education. We are so fortunate to have had President Wang leading TCU for the past thirteen years, and in the future, President-elect Ingrid Liu is going to lead us. To express our gratitude for President Wang’s endeavors over the past 25 years, Tui Tsai presented him with a “Scroll of Tzu Chi University.”

President Wang delivered his speech with humor that day. He said that he was rebellious when he was young, but since joining Tzu Chi, he started to initiate many changes. Several years ago, he fell to the ground in Korea and was seriously injured, but at that moment, he sensed he had just fallen down and kissed the ground, and that nothing else had really happened. This incident reflects how he deals with everything and is mindful in facing everything.

In 1987, Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital superintendent Shih-Mien Tu invited President Wang to come to Hualien, and provided him with a one way train ticket. President Wang accepted the invitation and said: “Yes, I will,” and then came to Tzu Chi Hospital one day per week to care for his patients. In 1991, President Wang participated in relief efforts, in eastern China, to help the flood victims, and decided to become Dharma Master’s disciple right after that. In 1998, Tzu Chi College of Medicine dean Ming-Liang Lee told him: “You are a disciple of Dharma Master Cheng Yen, so if you won’t come to our college to teach, who else will come?” President Wang left National Taiwan University right away and came to Hualien. While he was president, TCU achieved 67th in THE University Impact Rankings 2019. President Wang attributed this achievement to the endeavors of every TCU president. Many people are curious about how long we took to prepare for THE University Impact Rankings. President Wang replied that TCU didn’t spend much time getting information ready. On the other hand, we have made continuous efforts during the past 25 years to do all these. The main reason for us to reach 67th in the world is that we have followed Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s educational directions and carried them out accordingly; hence as a result, our efforts are recognized around the world.

It was a warm and happy time for everyone, and the program ended with a sign language presentation entitled “Reminder,” performed by President Wang, President-elect Liu and faculty members. Many faculty members, staff and students walked up to the stage to take photos with President and Madame Wang. President Wang will become our President Emeritus, and continue to look after his patients at Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, as well as teach and conduct research at Tzu Chi University. President Wang feels that our society needs more positive energy, thus he has been dedicated to writing and sharing his personal philosophy, and how he lives every day. He has published One Seed to Infinite, Relativistic and Non-relativistic, and Nothing to Everything, and we look forward to reading more of his books in the years ahead.