Man-Chiang Niu, who was instrumental in forging Temple’s well-developed relationship with his native China, died last month in Beijing. He was 95.
Niu, a retired Temple biology professor, died of complications from bone marrow cancer. He was a 21-year member of Temple’s faculty.
His distinguished career focused on cell research almost as much as he worked to develop scientific exchanges between China and the United States.
“The entire extended Temple family is saddened by the passing of Professor Niu,” Temple President Ann Weaver Hart said in a university press release from late last month. “His impact on international higher education, particularly here at Temple, has been felt by generations of students, and will continue to grow as Temple’s close ties with China strengthen in the future.”
Hart met with Niu at Temple’s first alumni reunion in Beijing just 10 days before he died.
Niu personally started the foundation for a relationship between China and Temple in the 1970s. Beginning in 1972, he visited with Chinese academics each summer, hoping to bring some back to Temple. Through his persistence, his goal was met when two Chinese genetic researchers were allowed to work at Temple in 1978.
Then in 1979, the opportunities grew substantially during an American visit by then-Chinese President Den Xiaoping. Temple gave Deng an honorary law degree, said the current director of the Temple-Beijing Rule of Law program, Mo Zhang, who spoke to The Temple News in early October of this year.
Niu helped arrange Deng’s honorary degree. In return, Deng invited a delegation from Temple, including Niu and former university president Marvin Wachman, to visit China later that year.Today, Temple sponsors a 15-month course on American law, housed at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing.
“It is the first and only program to offer a foreign law degree in China,” said Zhang, the director of the program. Niu’s dreams have largely become a reality.
Niu was born on Oct. 31, 1912, in the northern He Bei province of China, which surrounds the nation’s capital. After graduating from Beijing University, he married his wife, Lillian Paoying, in 1943, and together, they immigrated to the United States in 1944. He earned a doctorate from Stanford University and, after a stint at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York, he took a position at Temple in 1960. He retired in 1981.
In retirement, he directed a laboratory at Beijing’s Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Developmental Biology, which he founded in 1980. He kept homes both in Beijing and Elkins Park, Montgomery County, where the Tyler School of Art is currently located.
Niu is survived by his wife and two daughters, McYing Niu and Manette T. Nieu.His Nov. 16 funeral in Beijing was attended by Chinese President Hu Jintao, among others, according to the university’s press release.
Christopher Wink can be reached at email@example.com