Chinese 'ambassador' to visit UP

By The Beacon | September 30, 2010 9:00pm


A Chinese professor visits campus next week as the Mandarin class begins its first semester of classes

Lu Le, a professor at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, will visit campus next week. (Photo courtesy of Lu Le)

By Natalie Wheeler, Staff Writer --

Lu Le, dean of foreign languages at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, will visit campus next week as an "ambassador" of China. 

Arranged by the Robert Pamplin School of Business, her visit will coincide with the beginning of the new Mandarin class at UP.

While here, Lu will meet with faculty and visit several classes.  On Monday at 4:00 p.m. in Buckley Center 163, she will give a lecture sponsored by the Honors Program about what it is like to be a university student in China. 

In addition to discussing Chinese college life, Lu hopes to impart a love of other cultures to UP students.

"Staying in and knowing only one culture limits our vision, our understanding of the world, our career development and friend circle," Lu said in an e-mail.

Lu became interested in English at a young age.  In China at that time, however, she found her resources limited.

"During my school years, there was very limited foreign education in school," Lu said. "For some unknown reason, I fell in love with (English) and begin to study it with a little old dictionary in my father's bookcase."

Reed is excited for students and faculty to hear Lu's viewpoint about Chinese culture.

"She has that perspective that professionals here don't have," Lisa Reed, assistant dean of the business school, said.

In addition to its ties to the business school, this visit is also in conjunction with the start of Mandarin language classes at UP.

"We wanted to do something as a way to celebrate the start of Mandarin language classes," John Orr, English professor and Honors Program director, said.

Junior Kiernan Hogan is in the new Mandarin class, taught by Chiman Chen.  He had never taken an Eastern language before, but he hopes to set foot in China soon.

"I was just hoping to visit one day, maybe study abroad," Hogan said.

He is looking forward to meeting Lu with his class to answer some of his questions about China.

"I want to know what she thinks the benefits of studying abroad in China are," Hogan said, "and how we can apply our knowledge (about Chinese culture) to life here in the U.S."

The University of Portland already has previous connections to Lu.  The UP E-Scholars visit her university, and Orr has given presentations to Lu's students on American literature.

Robin Anderson, dean of the business school, arranged Lu's visit. Anderson set up a chapter of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) at Lu's School of Foreign Languages in 2002.

Both Orr and Reed thought up the idea to bring Lu here.

"Lisa and I had the idea. Dr. Anderson made it happen," Orr said.

The business school hopes to establish a long-term relationship with Lu and her university.  Lu also hopes there will be joint projects and exchanges with students and faculty of both universities in the future.

"I hope my visit will further strengthen the relationship between the two institutions," Lu said.

Reed believes a knowledge of Chinese culture is valuable to UP's business students.

"From a business perspective, China is the world's second largest economy," Reed said. "Our students have got to be prepared for a global economy."

Most importantly, Reed wants Lu's visit to give UP students an inside view of China.

"I think Americans tend to have perhaps some stereotypical ideas about modern day China," Reed said, "and she'll dispel those pretty quickly."