SHU commemorates Chinese scholar at symposium

Seton Hall will honor the life of Dr. John Ching Hsiung Wu, a renowned jurist, writer and SHU professor who was also a key figure in Chinese history and the Chinese Christian community, with the two-day symposium “The Asian Experience at Seton Hall University” on April 21 and 22, starting at 9 a.m. in the Beck Rooms at the Walsh Library.

The event was organized by the Department of Catholic Studies, the Asian Studies program and Seton Hall Law School, and was sponsored by the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission, is in anticipation of the 65th anniversary of the start of the Far-Eastern Institute at SHU, according to the Seton Hall website.

More than 100 people are expected to attend the conference, including Wu’s son John Wu Jr., according to Gloria Aroneo, administrative assistant and assistant to the chair of the department of Catholic Studies.

Wu retired in 1968 from Seton Hall, but his legacy and contributions continue both within the University and worldwide. While here, Wu taught law and Asian Studies courses.

Dr. Edwin Pak-wah Leung, a professor of Asian Studies for 38 years, elaborated on Wu’s worldly contributions.

“Before he joined Seton Hall, he had already established a big name as the chief author of the Constitution of the Republic of China and was China’s ambassador to the Vatican,” Leung said in an email interview.

In addition to these accomplishments, Wu was an adviser to the Chinese delegation at the United Nations Conference in San Francisco in 1945, according to SHU’s website.

Besides his role as a professor at SHU, Wu was a member of the founding advisory board for the Institute of Far Eastern Studies, now the Department of Asian Studies, while he continued to publish works relating to Asian studies.

“During his time at Seton Hall, he created many Asian Studies courses, making Seton Hall a national and international leader in this field,” Leung said. “Through his work, Seton Hall’s curriculum became much more globalized as more Asian Studies courses were included.”

The two-day symposium will be the third scholarly event that focuses on China’s relationship with Catholicism held within the past three years, according to SHU’s website.

Ines Murzaku, founding chair of the Department of Catholic Studies and professor of ecclesiastical history, explained the department’s link with Chinese culture.

“The Department of Catholic Studies at Seton Hall is committed to build bridges of collaboration with students and universities in China. We have a lot to learn and explore from other cultures,” Murzaku said in an email interview.

“China is a thriving country with very ancient and modern traditions. Aside from Chinese language, calligraphy, and arts, Chinese Christianity is a fascinating topic for American and Western students.”

Leung also stressed how important it is for Western students to learn about the East.

“China has 1.3 billion people now and is playing an active role in the international arena, including political, economic, and cultural activities. Getting to know the Chinese people and their culture is a major part of globalization through cross cultural awareness and mutual respect,” Leung said.

Leung added, “Seton Hall’s mission is to train our graduates as global servants, and Professor John Wu has been regarded even after his death as a bridge between the Eastern and Western worlds, a model for all of us.”

Megan O’Malley can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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