July 9, 2010
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57 DAYS TO KICKOFF: In academics and athletics, Dr. Hsing-wei Chu is a Lamar University Cardinal through and through.
Chu, professor and chair in the Department of Industrial Engineering, has parlayed his love for Lamar - and athletic prowess in three sports - to service as chair of Lamar's athletic council and as faculty representative to the NCAA and Southland Conference. He's served on the athletic council more than 15 years.
Already a constant presence at Lamar athletic contests and other events in support of the university, Chu is ready to cheer on the Cardinals some more when football returns this fall.
"I think this is really good in many ways," Chu said. "First, I think it will help enrollment, with the players, band members, cheerleaders and dance team members, as well as their relatives and other supporters.
"It will also increase our visibility in the area and in the nation. I've been involved in the Southland Conference for many years, and I think having a football program will really enhance our status and add prestige.
"I like to support Lamar University and, being an athlete myself, I can see the importance of the athletic teams and how much they can help the university."
Chu began playing basketball as a youth - and continues as a shooting guard on a team that participates in international competition. He took up tennis and golf later and still enjoys the sports as his busy schedule permits. He's also a spectator of those sports, be it in the stands and on television.
A native of China who grew up in Taiwan, Chu came to Lamar University in 1979 and found the career of a lifetime. He became one of Lamar's most distinguished faculty members, having earned top honors for teaching excellence.
"Teaching at Lamar was my first job and probably will be my last," Chu said in 2004 when he accepted the medallion as University Professor - Lamar's most prestigious academic offer.
That still holds true today as Chu enters his 32nd year as a faculty member.
"Lamar is a great place to work," he said, pointing to the university's selection by the Chronicle of Higher Education for a place on the 2009 Great Colleges to Work for Honor Roll - one of nine large institutions in the country to make the list. "We have great leadership here. I love my colleagues and my students. I truly enjoy teaching here."
After being honored in 2002 as a Piper Professor, an elite statewide honor bestowed by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation, Chu pledged the award's $5,000 stipend toward an endowed scholarship in the Department of Industrial Engineering, officially known as the Dr. Hsing-wei Chu, Piper Professor, Scholarship in Industrial Engineering.
Chu was one of 10 professors in Texas to be honored that year for outstanding academic, scientific and scholarly achievements in the teaching profession in colleges and universities in Texas. He is one of just 11 Lamar faculty members to earn the honor in the 87-year history of the university.
Chu is known for tireless service to his students and to the university, and his generous contribution was yet another example of his love of Lamar. His motivation was two-fold.
"First of all, I think the reason I got the award was because of my students and the university, and I owe them a lot," Chu said. "Second, I received a lot of assistance all along in getting scholarships to further my education, and I thought it was time to return the favor."
Chu teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses - essentially the entire industrial engineering curriculum. He is noted for his expertise in operations research, statistical decision analysis, network, and supply chain optimization.
Lamar has one of the highest passing rates on the Texas Board of Professional Engineers' Engineering-in Training Examination, and officials say Chu has played a major role in that success. He has received about $2 million in support for his projects, including grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation and National Aeronautics and Space Administration as a PI or co-PI.
In addition, Chu has served as faculty advisor to Lamar's chapters of the Society of Women Engineers, Institute of Industrial Engineers, Alpha Pi Mu, Phi Beta Delta and several service organizations.
Chu and his wife, Susan, have a daughter, Katherine, 26, and a son, William, 20. Susan retired this year after a career as an engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation.
The Chus' children, however, have turned to the world of finance instead of engineering. Katherine, who earned a degree from Harvard University, works for a private equity company and plans to attend graduate school. William will be a junior this fall at Georgetown University, where he is studying finance and operations management.
Dr. Chu earned his bachelor's degree from Tunghai University and his master's from the Asian Institute of Technology. He'd always wanted come to the United States to further his education and had the opportunity to study at the University of Texas, where he earned a doctor of philosophy in industrial engineering.
"Right before I graduated, Lamar called and said there was a position open and asked if I would be interested in it," Chu recalls. "I came here, and I loved it. Lamar made me an offer, and I accepted."
Having joined the Lamar faculty in 1979, Chu had the opportunity to support Lamar's football program for a decade, and, he said, "It was very exciting." Now, he's ready to do so again.
"Lamar is already a great place to be," he said, "and football will add to our university in many, many ways."
The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved an athletics fee to restore the program in February of 2008 and named former NFL player Ray Woodard its eighth head coach on June 19, 2008.
Lamar will play an 11-game schedule this season, with six games being played in the newly renovated Provost Umphrey Stadium. The first home game will be against Webber International on Sept. 11.
Tickets for this historic season are currently on sale and can be purchased by calling the Lamar Ticket Office at (409) 880-1715 or by visiting the athletics Web site at www.lamarcardinals.com/tickets/footbl-s-tickets.html.