Excerpt from Excellence, Perseverance, and Dignity Through Adversity: Honoring Ju Tong-Kui
May 31, 2013
Presentation of Thomas Hart Benton Medallion
As I have said on many occasions, what distinguishes the American system of higher education from virtually every other system of higher education in the world is the remarkable support of its graduates. IU graduates are among the most dedicated and loyal to their alma mater of any that I have encountered in my extensive travels.
Indeed, on the trips I have made to countries in Asia, I have been immensely impressed with the energy, enthusiasm, and deep loyalty to Indiana University of our Asian alumni. The spirit of IU may seem like it is thousands of miles away, but it is also right here in this room tonight, with you, some of our most dedicated Chinese alumni. You are part of the spirit of Indiana University, and your successes are the university’s successes.
Tonight it is my honor to celebrate one graduate, whose professional accomplishments over half a century, whose generosity with his time, service, and leadership have made a great difference to Indiana University, helping to enhance our international outreach efforts: Mr. Ju Tong-Kui.
Mr. Ju’s story is one not only of the shining values of IU, but also of perseverance and dignity through adversity.
Mr. Ju came to Indiana in 1948, along with nine other graduates of China’s prestigious Soochow University. In 1949, he graduated from the Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington, which is now known as the Michael Maurer School of Law.
After graduation, he returned to China, following the Revolution, eager to help build a more egalitarian society through his practice of the law, and later, through his service as a judge in the Shanghai District Court. Like so many others in China, he endured difficult and trying times during the dark and grim years of the 60s and 70s.
After the reopening of China in 1978, the Shanghai Lawyers’ Association, which had been defunct for nearly 15 years, was re-established in 1979. Mr. Ju joined the association as one of the only lawyers who could speak fluent English, and who had knowledge of foreign law. During the next 20 years, he worked on some of the largest joint venture and private-direct investment activities in China in his capacity as a senior attorney there, helping to build the new China.
In 1982, Mr. Ju represented the Shanghai Pharmaceutical Industrial Corporation in successful joint venture negotiations with the Squibb Corporation. This was the first joint pharmaceutical manufacturing venture between a Chinese organization and an American company.
His service to the legal profession is also reflected in his work at the Research Institute of Legal Science at the Shanghai Academy of Social Science, where he served as a visiting researcher.
Mr. Ju has also fostered close ties to Indiana University and the Maurer School of Law. In 1980, he discovered through an alumni publication that a fellow law school graduate, Michael O’Laughlin, was living in China. Mr. Ju and Mr. O’Laughlin met and formed a strong friendship, and worked together to strengthen the ties between IU and China.
As the Maurer School of Law increased its presence in China, Mr. Ju was a strong ally. He offered to host students under the alumni shadow program, and also offered to connect students with other IU alumni and lawyers in Shanghai.
Mr. Ju has achieved great distinction in his career, and he has been a wonderful friend to Indiana University, helping to plant the seeds for the fruitful relationship IU now enjoys with China.
Mr. Ju, would you join me at the podium?
Mr. Ju, you are an example of excellence, perseverance, and loyalty throughout your whole life. On behalf of Indiana University, you have our deepest gratitude for all your dedicated efforts on behalf of the university.
To recognize distinction such as yours, the university established the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion. First given in 1986, the bronze medal features the Benton Mural, which is located in the IU Auditorium. The reverse side has the Seal of the University.
It symbolizes the aspirations and ideals that are the foundation of the search for knowledge.
By the authority vested in me by the Trustees of Indiana University, and in acknowledgement of all that you have done and continue to do for the university, I present to you, Mr. Ju Tong-Kui, the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion.
Mr. Ju, thank you again for all you have done in China for Indiana University.