UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 1 | Jan.
Fairway finds fund future
One golfer's loss is university students' gain, thanks to course
by Don Wells staff writer
Any golfer who frequents the fairways of the University
Golf Club has seen `Captain' Wu.
At 79, he's as fit as many half his age, owing largely to the fact
that he and his dog, Deedee, walk the course almost daily looking
for lost golf balls.
Captain Wu and Deedee find thousands a year, and every so often
he drops large sacks of them off with UBC's golf team coaches, who
sell them for a dollar each to raise money for their program.
He also relieves the golf course of discarded empties. Once they
encroach on the West 14th Avenue home he enjoys with wife Ruth,
she drives him (he doesn't drive) to a recycling depot. Cash in
hand, their next stop is Safeway where he buys large boxes of fruit
and donuts for the Thunderbird swim team and the Aquatic Centre's
The gifts he and Ruth drop off at the Development Office are particularly
thoughtful. They are the thin flat kind, and he's left enough of
them to endow seven scholarships in three faculties. He's done the
same for Qingha University in Beijing, and Anhui University in his
hometown in Anhui Province.
"I did that in honour of my mother who died, and my grandmother
who raised me," he says.
Chao Yu Wu was born in 1922 near Shanghai. In 1943 he graduated
from the Chinese Military Academy and fought the Japanese as a platoon
leader in Burma and Manchuria. After being shot twice in the neck
and once in the leg, he received a distinguished service award,
then returned to the front lines and was eventually promoted to
After the war, Wu studied civil engineering at Taiwan National
University and worked as a hydroelectric engineer for the Taiwan
Power Company. In 1961, he took his family to the US where he earned
a master's degree at the University of Tennessee. They moved to
BC in 1968 where he worked for BC Hydro while Ruth obtained a PhD
at UBC and taught in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences.
To say that Wu has a strong belief in education is like saying
the Pope has a strong belief in God. His own children, David, Robert
and Marianne, are all multiple degree holders and all graduates
"Students are our hope for the future," he says with wide-eyed
enthusiasm. "We must encourage them."
On that score, Captain Wu walks the talk, literally. Just ask any
of the regulars at the University Golf Club. Chances are he and
Deedee are out there now.