Dr. James Chao & The Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Foundation
Dr. James S.C. Chao has dedicated his life to family, philanthropy, contribution to society, and improving the industry he has worked in all his life, international shipping. He began his career as a cadet on oceangoing vessels after completing his college coursework in China and advanced with unprecedented speed to become one of the youngest sea captains at the age of 29. Subsequently, he shattered all previous records in Taiwan by achieving the highest score ever recorded on the national Master Mariner Examination. Dr. Chao exemplified that even in the most difficult of times, in an era marked by war and strife, our futures can be forged through our own efforts.
After receiving an MBA from St. John’s University in 1964, Dr. Chao founded Foremost Group, a company with worldwide operations in international shipping, and finance where he remains Chairman to this day. Dr. Chao has led the global shipping industry in incorporating “greener”, more environmentally friendly designs and technology into his company’s fleet of new vessels, some of the world’s largest bulk carriers. In 2004, Dr. Chao was inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame at the United Nations.
The recipient of numerous awards for his outstanding accomplishments and contributions, Dr. Chao was recognized with the Medal of Honor from St. John’s University and honorary degrees from Niagara University and Nyack College. Other distinctions include: the prestigious Horatio Alger Award at the U.S. Supreme Court; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “Outstanding American by Choice” award; the first father and daughter (the 24th U. S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao) Ellis Island Medal of Honor; the Museum of Chinese in America’s inaugural Outstanding Achievement Award for the Chao Family; the inaugural “Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Chinese-American Academic and Professional Society among many others.
Active philanthropist throughout their lives, Dr. Chao and his late wife, Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, through their Shanghai Mulan Education Foundation, have awarded thousands of scholarships to students in America and China in the last 31 years and been generous benefactors to many institutions. Most recently, on October 12, 2012, Harvard University announced a historic gift from a Chao Family foundation to construct the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center, the first building named after a woman and an individual with a Chinese surname in its 375 year history. The Foundation has also established a generous scholarship program, Ruth Mulan Chu and James Si-Cheng Chao Family Fellowship Fund, with special emphasis to help outstanding Asian Pacific Americans students.
Dr. Chao says of his wife: “My wife is the love of my life and my soulmate.” Pioneers to America in the early 1960’s, they were part of a generation of courageous immigrants who helped create the diverse America that exits today. Today, Dr. James S. C. Chao and The Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Foundation continue to lead the way, setting an outstanding and stirring milestone example of Asian American philanthropy in the world.