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Providence University: Its Journey from Honam, China to Taiwan And Now Bridge to the World


   Elected as the 9th president of Providence University in 2010 August, Dr. Chuan Yi Tang enjoys his work and takes pride of the university’s long history. He was  interviewed by CNT on Sept 16th, 2013.
   President Chuan Yi Tang says, “the spirit of Providence is never to forget where
you came from.”
   Providence University campus located in Taichung City, Shalu District, covers thirty hectares of land. Currently, the students’ population is around twelve thousand  (12,000) while faculty, administration and staffs consist of about seven hundred (700). Providence University is well-known for its academic excellence and as one of the oldest schools in Taiwan.
   Its history begins with Sister Marie Gratia Luking who founded Providence University that was originally a Girls’ High School in Honan Province of China. Sister Marie Gratia Luking came to China for the first time in 1920 as a missionary.  She then began her mission of educating the girls. In 1921, she established the Hua-Mei Girls' Elementary and High School in Kaifeng City, Honan Province and later on in 1932 she established Ching-Yi Girls’ High School. The name “Ching-Yi’’ originated from Sister Marie Gratia Luking’s Chinese name, “Ching-Yi Lu.”  However, the students and staff preferred to call her Sister Gratia. Then, in 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, all schools closed down. Sister Gratia used the campus as a refugee camp and led the other nuns to join the medical team at the train station. In 1948, Sister Gratia arrived in Taiwan, with an earnest desire to restore the school. Consequently, on the following year, she established the Catholic English Supplementary School in Taichung City. In 1953, Sister Gratia started to supervise the construction of the campus and in 1956 the Providence Junior College for Women was opened. Later in 1963, the school was reconstituted and renamed as Providence College of Arts and Sciences for Women. It served as the first college for women in Taiwan and the first school to provide night school in central part of Taiwan. Sister Gratia passed away the next year. In 1987, Providence moved to its current location in Taichung City, Shalu District. In 1993, the school was renamed as Providence University and began to accept male students.
   Dr. Chuan Yi Tang visited the original site of the school three years ago, now known as, “The Eighth Junior High School.” Apparently, the school has lost its shine as there are only two hundred students and the numbers are decreasing rapidly. Luckily, however, he has found an alumnus of that school whose name is Zhang Da-Zhong. Mr. Zhang Da-Zhong now cooperates with Dr. Chuan Yi Tang in restoring the spirit of Providence. As a matter of fact, a class has been opened and named it as Providence Girls’ Class. The staffs trained by Providence University are currently applying to change its name into Providence Girls’ High School. Pretty soon, when the application for its new name is approved, it will be called as such.
   Providence University has been working hard for the students to have an international view and connection to the world. In this regard, PU has signed an exchange student program agreement with schools around the globe. Each year, at least five percent of the students participate in this exchange program.
   Providence University has the largest number of exchange students among private schools in Taiwan and fourth place among all the universities in Taiwan. Making sure students participate in the exchange program, the university has established an International Elite Management Class whose objectives are to help students improve their English level, assist with scholarship applications and structure their plans for the future.
   Dr. Chuan Yi Tang states that aside from motivating PU students to have international education, the future goal is also to let the students combine industry with the environment and let everyone become a service designer.
   Indeed, students of Providence have a great chance of being BRIDGE to the World!