Kuech visits new Shandong University president
When the new president of Shandong University welcomed a recent visitor from University of Wisconsin-Madison, no introductions were necessary. President Zhang Rong greeted Milton J. and A. Maude Shoemaker and Beckwith-Bascom Professor and Chair of Chemical and Biological Engineering Thomas Kuech on Feb. 16 as an old friend and former professor, since when President Zhang was a post-doctoral student in Madison in the late 1990s, he worked in Professor Kuech’s lab.
Professor Kuech is now chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and has stayed in contact over the years with his former student. When Zhang Rong was promoted this fall from vice president at Nanjing University to president of Shandong University, he invited Professor Kuech to visit. Since Kuech is currently a visiting scientist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s Institute of Advanced Studies, he was able to add a stop in Shandong Province on his most recent trip to Hong Kong. Professor Kuech was accompanied to Shandong by one of his colleagues at HKUST and by Dr. Kening Li, who has law and PhD degrees from UW-Madison and serves on the advisory boards for both the Wisconsin China Initiative and the Shanghai Innovation Office.
In Shandong Province, Professor Kuech’s group visited Shandong University’s State Key Laboratory of Crystal Materials and held discussions with various university leaders. They also traveled from the main campus in the provincial capital of Jinan to the new campus under construction in the coastal city of Qingdao, which is scheduled to open in 2016 with a focus on science and technology.
Professor Kuech called his visit “very successful.” He and Dr. Li both said they will continue to explore options for collaboration with President Zhang, who expressed his strong desire to see a strategic partnership with the university where he was once a student.