Fong Pah Liang

     Fong Pah Liang (1860-1927, Class of 1884), a native of Kaiping in Guangdong Province, studied at the Educational Mission School in Shanghai in 1873 before sailing for the US as a member of the second detachment of the CEM. [1] He arrived in America in July 1873. Having prepared at Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham Massachusetts, and then at Williston Seminary (Easthampton), Fong entered MIT in 1880, studying science. A Christian convert, Fong was active in church activities during his student years. In August 1881, he returned to China and studied at the Telegraph School in Tianjin, China in 1881-82. After spending four years devoted to the telegraph service, then teaching for several years, Fong entered the North China Railway Service in Tianjin in 1905.[2] He served as a proctor at the Tangshan Railway and Mining Engineering College. At the time of his twenty-fifth reunion in 1909, Fong reported that he was in Mukden, Manchuria, where he had been serving as the Deputy of the Bureau of Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce since 1908. He had three wives and ten children. Outside of his professional life, Fong was also very interested in missionary work and was involved in a Christian mission during the time he lived in Canton. Fong later became Telegraph Superintendent of the Canton-Hankow Railway.[3]

As Fong recalled in a letter to his class in 1909:

The education received at the Institute proved a training of the mental powers, – memory, judgment, the reason, and will, – so that one can turn to any one of many lines of work and in a short time dovetail one's self into the position one has chosen. Should have desired a more liberal education, and regret that I did not even complete my course of studies at the Institute. [Class of '84 M.I.T.: Twenty-fifth Anniversary Book, 1909, 43]

Fong further reported that he weighed 120 pounds, up from his college weight of 108 pounds, "and a little thicker."




[1] Who's who of American Returned Students (You Mei tongxue lu) Beijing, Tsinghua College, 1917. For more biographical details on Fong, see CEM Connections

[2] Class of '84 M.I.T.: Twenty-fifth Anniversary Book, 1909. Photograph available from the LaFargue Collection at Washington State University: Reunion in 1905 – Fong Pah Liang

[3] Class of '84 M.I.T.: Twenty-fifth Anniversary Book, 1909. Outlook 1917. China's Place in the Sun.

Sources: MIT Chinese Students Directory: For the Past Fifty Years, 1931; Class of '84 MIT: Twenty-fifth Anniversary Book, 1909; the Technology Review; The Tech; the MIT Course Catalogue; MIT's Reports to the President; Who's Who of American Returned Students (You Mei tongxue lu), Beijing: Tsinghua College, 1917; CEM Connections; Thomas La Fargue, China's First Hundred. Pullman: State College of Washington, 1942; and The Thomas La Fargue Digital Collection (Washington State University Libraries).