"We are proud of our alma maters and want to help outstanding McKinley students to go to UH and contribute back to this community." The Chun family
HONOLULU — UH Mānoa alumni Chee Kwon Chun, Sau Chun Wong Chun, and their daughter Yen Chun have pledged $100,000 to endow a scholarship for UH Mānoa freshman students who are graduates of McKinley High School. The Chee Kwon and Sau Chun Wong Chun Endowed Scholarship will assist students pursuing an undergraduate degree in any area of study. Chee Kwon and Sau Chun Wong Chun are both graduates of McKinley High School and the University of Hawaiʻi.
Chee Kwon Chun (BA'34) was born in Kailua, the ninth child of a family of ten. In 1934, after graduating from the University of Hawaiʻi, Chee Kwon's brother-in-law Dr. Sun Fo, son of Sun Yat-sen, took him to China. Chee Kwon served as Sun Fo's English Secretary at the Legislative Yuan—the highest law-making body in the Nanking government.
During the Sino-Japanese war, Chee Kwon spent nine months in Yan'an where the Communist headquarters were located. During
this time he met Communist leaders including Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Generals Zhu De and Wang Zhen. Subsequently, Chee Kwon served as the Director of the International Industrial Cooperatives (INDUSCO) covering seven southeast provinces and four war zones from 1940 to 1947.
In 1950, Chee Kwon married Sau Chun Wong (BEd'38, PD'39) Chun, a McKinley High School teacher. Eight days after their marriage, the Chuns moved to Beijing where their two children Ping and Yen were born. Chee Kwon worked for the Foreign Press Publishing House and helped distribute Chinese publications worldwide while Sau Chun worked as a journalist. In 1957, Chee Kwon assisted China in setting up the first Guangzhou Trade Fair. After the Chun family moved to Hong Kong in 1961, Chee Kwon became the only American citizen working as a high-ranking banker in a Chinese bank. In 1972, the Chuns started their consulting business to promote U.S.-China trade and represented numerous Fortune 500 corporations in China.
In 1972, then Governor Jack Burns called on the Chuns to deliver a goodwill letter and gifts to Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, followed up by a Hawaiʻi delegation to the Canton Trade Fair. The Chuns were instrumental in the establishment of sister state relations between Hawaiʻi and Guangdong, and sister island relations between Oʻahu and Hainan. The Chuns and their daughter Yen were founders of the Soong Ching Ling (Mdm. Sun Yat-sen) Foundation in the USA.
The Chuns' only son, Ping Chun, was an outstanding Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering and was about to start his career at Hewlett Packard in California. At age 26, Ping died tragically in a plane crash in Chicago in 1979. After ten years of painful legal proceedings, the Chun family received compensation from American Airlines and McDonnell Douglas. The Chuns donated a major portion of the amount for scholarships at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago where Ping attended college and graduate school, and the University of Hawaiʻi. They also funded school projects in Shanghai and Hebei province through the Soong Ching Ling Foundation in China.
The Chuns' work and accomplishments have been recognized by both Chinese and American leaders. In 1994, Chee Kwon received the Soong Ching Ling Camphor Tree Award presented to individuals with outstanding contributions to improving maternity care and children's education and health in China. In 2010, Chee Kwon and Sau Chun received the "Life-time Achievement Award" by the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foundation and were honored by the Honolulu City Council.
Chuns' daughter Yen Chun is one of the founding members of the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foundation and trustee of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation in Beijing and Shanghai. Chee Kwon passed away on December 27, 2010, three months short of his 100th birthday.
The Chee Kwon and Sau Chun Wong Chun Endowed Scholarship recipient criteria:
- Full-time freshman students majoring in any area of study at UH Mānoa.
- Cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or above and/or students who graduated within the top 10% of their class.
- Graduates of McKinley High School.
- Recipients must demonstrate leadership, citizenship and service to the community.
- Financial need shall be a criterion in making this award although not necessarily as defined by federal guidelines.
- Preference shall be given to students who self-identify their intention to major in a Chinese studies related field.
To learn how you can support scholarship opportunities at the University of Hawaiʻi, please contact Malia Peters, director of scholarship development at (808) 956-6311 or Malia.Peters@UHFoundation.org.
You can also make a secure gift online at www.uhfoundation.org.