25th birthday with JF Chang’s memoir release
National Chi Nan University held a book-signing event on Sept. 30 to mark the release of “Retrieving Past Memories: Images, Speeches, and Writings” penned by former NCNU President Chang Jin-fu (張進福, also known as JF Chang), who served two terms as the third and fourth president from 2000 to 2008. Chang’s memoir heralds the upcoming 25th anniversary of the university’s founding in 1995.
Among the attending guests were over a dozen of his former colleagues and mentees, including current NCNU President Dr. Yuhlong Oliver Su (蘇玉龍), former Nan Kai University of Technology President Sun Tai-ping (孫台平), NCNU Vice Presidents Chiang Ta-shu (江大樹) and Sun Tung-wen (孫同文), NCNU college deans — Dean of Humanities Chen Pei-hsiu (陳佩修), Dean of Management Chen Chien-liang (陳建良), Dean of Science and Technology Tsai Yung-pin (蔡勇斌) — and NCNU Chief Secretary Liu I-chung (劉一中).
President Chang, who joined NCNU in 2000, led the school’s reconstruction efforts in the wake of the deep devastation wrought by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in 1999. His humanistic vision for a post-reconstruction era, which was guided by compassion and led with knowledge, was welcomed by many members of the campus community.
Huang Jong-tsun (黃榮村), the current president of the Examination Yuan, penned the foreword for Chang’s memoir, recalling how they first met when he served as head of the Ministry of Education. Huang pledged his support upon hearing Chang’s earnest request for aid and development, saying: “He has imbued the title of ‘NCNU President’ with new meaning and value, and his deeds themselves reflect the true calling of a university president.”
Current President Dr. Su, who was a visiting professor from National Taiwan University then, was persuaded to stay with NCNU as chief of the university’s general affairs by none other than Chang. Describing the former president as a “restorative elixir” that nursed the school back to health, Dr. Su pointed to such accomplishments as completing the NT$250-million humanities building and the NT$450-million library, planting thousands of cherry blossom trees across the campus, and securing NT$240 million in subsidies from the Ministry of Education.
Dr. Su ended his speech with praise for Chang’s perfectionistic drive and generous character, describing the 72-year-old as an “irrevocable treasure” who still brings joy and inspiration to the school today. Chang’s memoir, “Retrieving Past Memories: Images, Speeches, and Writings,” is now available for loan from campus libraries and the school’s history archives. It is an invaluable source of data on Chang’s academic governance and encompasses hundreds of people, stories, and photos that tell the collective tale of NCNU.