Tranzhu “Jack” Huang returned to Albion last week after a 33-year absence.
He was last here in 1985 as one of 11 Chinese college students who spent six months learning about the hog business through an arrangement between Sand Livestock Systems and their school, the South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou, China.
He came back last week with his wife, Minling, and their 15-year-old son Daniel, a junior in high school. They are now American citizens living in Honolulu, HI. Their oldest son Alex, 22, is a pharmacy student at the University of California, San Francisco.
Highlights in Albion
Although Jack is no longer in the business of raising hogs, he said he considered the six months spent in Albion to be one of the highlights of his life.
“I came back to get reacquainted and to say thank you to some of the people who helped us back then,” he said. He also represented his former agriculture professor, Dr. Sam Lee, now 87 and living in Florida, who wanted to express appreciation to people in the area who treated their study group kindly while they were here.
“Dr. Lee wanted to make the trip back to Albion, but his health would not allow it,” said Jack.
Already a Connection
When the Chinese students visited Albion, there was already a connection with their university in China. Susan Wilcoxon, daughter of Marcia Wilcoxon of Albion, had been teaching English at the South China Institute of Technology, which is located next door to the South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou.
During their visit last week, the Huang family stayed with Randall Henning, retired Albion teacher, who knew Jack and assisted the study group during their stay here.
They also had the opportunity to visit with Tom Ketteler and Bob Schafer, who were supervisors with the Sand Livestock hog operations during their visit back in 1985, and with Mike Belgum, who was an assistant manager of one of the Sands confinements at that time.
Henning met the Huangs’ flight in Lincoln Wednesday, Aug. 1, and drove them to Albion, where they stayed until Saturday, Aug. 4. He then drove them back to Lincoln for a flight to Denver, where they would rent a car and visit Yellowstone National Park and other sights before flying to Florida to visit Dr. Lee.
The 1985 visit by the student group was very important to the development of the pork industry in China, said Jack. Hogs with advantageous genetic traits were purchased from Pig Improvement Co. (PIC) in the U.S. and shipped back to China. Also, the management techniques learned here by the Chinese students improved their production.
Huang emphasized that the trip led to increased communication and trade opportunities that benefitted both the U.S. and China over the years.
After the 1985 visit, Jack returned to China and worked in his university’s swine research farm until 1992. He met his wife, Minling, a graduate student at a neighboring university, and they were married in 1987.
Read the complete story in the Aug. 8 Albion News & Petersburg Press, Print and E-Editions.