The Golden Age of My Life
“I consider my time at Tunghai to be the golden age of my life,” Wutien Peng, a retired economics professor and member of Tunghai University’s Class of 1962 recalls. In fact, he found it such “a joy to learn and grow at Tunghai” that he never missed a single class during his four years on campus. It was a stimulating environment for young learners, with small classes and top-notch professors who were “so effective in sharing challenging ideas with young minds,” he said.
Tunghai’s emphasis on whole person education created a lasting impression on Dr. Peng, one that guided him through his career as an economics professor at the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, and other institutions. “Whole person education is not just academics,” he explains. “It develops a complete person, who can focus on all aspects of life – intellectual, spiritual, professional – with good ethics.” Whole person education was embedded in the Tunghai curriculum, and the school’s requirements that students live in dormitories for four years and share responsibility for maintaining the campus helped develop valuable soft skills, like teamwork and knowing how to compromise.
Tunghai has grown from a small, pioneering college to a university with 17,000 students, but Dr. Peng believes whole person education remains important for its new generation of students. “Yes, students need technical skills,” he says, “but we can’t forget about other aspects of growth.” During the six years he spent on the faculty at Tunghai, he encouraged economics majors to use their electives to explore other subjects. “All this makes a person more complete, rather than specializing in one thing.”
The United Board’s commitment to whole person education resonates with Dr. Peng. He also remains grateful to the United Board for its early support for Tunghai. For these reasons, he and his wife, Grace, are contributors to the United Board; their gifts are made in support of Tunghai University and the United Board Fellows Program. “I continue my support to the United Board,” he says, “because I want to improve the quality of education and serve the students of Taiwan and Asia and mankind.”
This article first appeared in the June 2016 issue of Horizons.