May 24, 2023
Honoring a family legacy and the indomitable spirit of his great-uncle Lok Hin Wang, Tian Deng and the Wang family generously donated $50,000 to the EIH program. This act of philanthropy not only celebrates the remarkable journey of Wang (‘65), a UW postgrad alum of the Aeronautics & Astronautics Department, but also empowers future generations of engineers to make a lasting impact.
The donation, named in honor of Lok Hin Wang, is a tribute to his commitment to education and the family’s belief in the transformative power of engineering in the health industry. Expenditure of the donation includes, but is not limited to, supporting faculty, staff, and students engaged in research, technology development, and project-based learning.
From Cambodia to China to the United States
Born in Kampot, Cambodia in 1915, and later moved to Canton, China for high school, Wang had a journey of resilience and excellence. In Canton, he became one of the few students admitted to Tsinghua University in Peking, and later, during the escalation of World War II, joined Southwestern Associated University in Kunming to sit in its very first aeronautical engineering class.
His exceptional performance led him to a career at the Ministry of Aviation, working directly under Madame Chiang Kai Shek. “At that time, he wanted to use technology to help his country, China, fight against the Japanese invasion,” Deng said.
Wang came to the United States not once, but twice – his first was in 1944 when he attended an aircraft engine maintenance training in San Diego as an official delegate of the Chinese government. His second was in the 1950s to pursue a postgraduate degree in aeronautical engineering at the UW, which he earned in 1965.
“After years working in the government and aviation industry in China, he wanted to improve his understanding of this field, so he came to the United States to study,” Deng said.
Upon graduation, Wang joined the Boeing Company and became a senior engineer in aero engines until his retirement.
The legacy of the Wang family is incomplete without mentioning his wife, Ann Wang, who broke barriers of her own. She was one of the pioneering Chinese women who pursued a college degree in science in the first half of the 20th century. In 1957, when Wang graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a master’s degree in electrical engineering, she was one of the first women in the U.S. to attain a postgraduate degree in the sciences. She too later joined the Boeing Company as a senior engineer.
Wang died in 2007 and his wife, who enjoyed her final years in the Greater Seattle Area, in 2019.
Honoring the legacy at the EIH
Only three years after Wang’s death, Deng moved to the U.S. to pursue a graduate degree in Arts Administration at Columbia University. Although he never met his great-uncle, Deng would hear stories about his monumental legacy through his grandmother who was Wang’s younger sister.
Through these stories, Deng was enamored by the courage of his great-uncle and -aunt who defied social barriers imposed on immigrants to become trailblazers in their field. He also learned that one of Wang’s final wishes is to uplift the scientific research community at his alma mater. Given many of Wang’s nephews and nieces dedicated their careers to the medical and healthcare industry, the family decided to continue Wang’s legacy at the UW by inspiring students to leverage technology’s potential in health innovation.
In 2022, Deng and his family visited the UW to see the place where his great-uncle began his educational journey in the U.S. He visited various engineering buildings – many of which have been renovated since his great-uncle’s times – and met students and faculty at the EIH.
Deng was impressed by two aspects of the program: first, the diversity of the student body, and second, the accessible, hands-on learning for students. In a chat with team InSTENT, Deng was blown away by the resorbable stent that later won the Grand Prize at the 2022 Holloman Health Innovation Challenge.
“Isn’t it so amazing?” Deng said about the stent. “I’m so proud that we are supporting something that could be a game-changer in this world.”
The unwavering passion of the students, coupled with their innovative creations, left an indelible mark on Deng. He is confident that the EIH program can provide students with unparalleled access to top-tier medical technology and career opportunities.
“We don’t come from a super-rich family, and every penny is hard-earned money,” Deng said. “But this money can serve a higher purpose. We can make an impact and support the next-generation innovation to make this world a better place. That is one thing Lok Hin would have wanted to see.”
The EIH would like to thank Tian Deng and the Wang family for contributing to our program.
Ready to invest in the future of health? Your generosity to the EIH will empower aspiring engineers and fuel groundbreaking research in health innovation. Visit our donation page and make a difference today.