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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 1 | Jan. 10, 2002

Fairway finds fund future

One golfer's loss is university students' gain, thanks to course regular

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 student staff.

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 captain.

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 of UBC.

"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.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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