Secretary Elaine Chao

 
 
 

The Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Kindergarten, at Qili, Lai’An County and The Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Kindergarten, at Siyang, Lai’An County Lai’An County, Anhui Province Remarks by The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, 24th U. S. Secretary of Labor (2001-2009) and Chairman, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Foundation

Dear honored guests, teachers, administration, family, friends, and students:

The last time we were here, we had the great privilege and pleasure of attending the inaugural ceremony opening the Lai’An Hall of Fame and witness the induction of my beloved late mother, Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao(赵朱木兰 女士),a native daughter of this land, into this Hall of Fame.  We are humbled by your recognition of my beloved mother.

Today, it is again a delight for my father, Dr. James S. C. Chao (赵锡成 博士), my sister, Angela Chao (赵安吉 女士) , my brother-in-law Jim Breyer and me to attend this auspicious ceremony celebrating the establishment of this new kindergarten and to commemorate the life and legacy of my beloved late mother, Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao. 

Today is obviously another very emotional day for my family and me.  My mother, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, was the foundation of our family.  Since her departure on August 2, 2007, her absence has been felt every single day.

Though my mother left Anhui Province so many years ago, she had never forgotten the land of her birth and her roots.  As you have heard, my parents went to America as a young couple.  They faced great hardships but their determination, optimism, hardwork and perseverance gave them strength and hope. 

While we were growing up, my parents always emphasized Chinese values, traditions and philosophical thinking.

Through all the challenges they faced and the sacrifices they made as they built a new life in America, they always emphasized the importance of family and education.

My mother was one of the few women of her generation to receive an education.  She attended Ming-Teh Girls High School in Nanjing.  Her studies were interrupted by the wars which ravaged China at the time.  But, she never gave up her desire to finish her education.  At the age of 53 years old, with the majority of her children raised and out of the home, she finally obtained her Masters degree in Asian Literature and History from St. John’s University in New York. 

Believing in the Chinese philosophy that education is the key to betterment, to advancement, my parents always credited their education to their ability to survive and excel in a world of constant change. 

As China grows in importance on the world stage, it is critical that its citizens become more educated, more worldly to understand, interact with the rest of the world in an increasingly connected global world. 

To commemorate my mother’s emphasis on education, her love for her native province, her life and her legacy, it is very fitting that my father has made this significant contribution to help the children of Lai’An County access better education for the benefit of their families and society in her name.  We hope the children and their families will study the life and legacy of Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao and emulate her spirit of determination, perseverance, altruism and love.  We hope they will be inspired by her spirit in their own lives.

Thank you for your recognition of an ordinary yet extraordinary woman who made her mark as a wonderful wife, mother, scholar and philanthropist and a native daughter of Anhui Province, Lai’An County. 

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