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Dr. Anne Shen Chao: An Inspiring Educator of the Highest Order

CKW Luxe is proud to announce that Dr. Anne Shen Chao is our honoree for the Cosmic Star Award. This award goes to a philanthropic woman who is inspiring and transforming lives through education or cultural awareness.

“I wake up each day happy to be alive and hoping that I can, in some small way, make the world a better place.” – Dr. Anne Shen Chao

Dr. Anne Shen Chao received her bachelor’s degree in Chinese studies from Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts and her master’s and doctoral degrees in modern Chinese history from Rice University in Houston, Texas. Currently, Dr. Chao is appointed adjunct lecturer in the humanities at Rice. Her focus is the field of modern Chinese history. She taught as a lecturer in the Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities program (PJHC), which imbues students with an understanding of human well-being not only in the United States but in other countries as well. A key goal of the PJHC is to enrich students’ understanding of poverty and inequality, so that, regardless of their choice of occupation, they will maintain a longstanding commitment to enhancing the well-being of all people, according to the program’s website. This is a worthy goal, and Dr. Chao is to be commended for the part she plays in achieving it.

As well, at Rice University, Dr. Chao serves as a co-chair of the Rice Gallery Patron Group; a member of the Advisory Board for the T. T. and W. F. Chao Center for Asian Studies; a member of the Advisory Board for the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality; a member of the Advisory Board of the Shepherd School of Music; a member of the Advisory Board of the Rice University School of Humanities; and a member of the Faculty Advisory Panel of the Rice University Humanities Research Center. Dr. Chao is also a Lovett College associate. In this capacity, a member, or member of the community, becomes more involved with the life of the students in the residential college away from the academic setting. Her dedication to Rice University and its students is evident from her participation in so many of its important organizations.

Dr. Chao is also Manager of the Houston Asian American Archive (HAAA). The archive focuses on Houston’s Asian American immigrant experience. Its mission is “… to foster a deeper understanding of Houston’s immigrant history.” Dr. Chao’s tireless work with HAAA demonstrates her dedication to Houston’s Asian American community.

As an academic, Dr. Chao is also focused on publishing. Currently, she is working toward expanding her thesis into a book. Topics of articles she has published range from modern Chinese history, to world history, to the history of Houston’s Chinese immigrants. She has also contributed material to such publications as the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography and the Berkshire Encyclopedia of China as well as numerous others.

Dr. Chao is married to Albert Chao, President and CEO of Westlake Chemical Corporation. Together, they have a daughter and son and two grandchildren who all live in New York. As a dedicated professional, Dr. Chao relishes conducting research and teaching. In her spare time, Dr. Chao attends the ballet and the opera, and enjoys hanging out with her friends. She and her husband also love to travel.
Along with her husband, Dr. Chao served on the Rice Parent’s Committee from 1996 to 2003. Together, the couple was awarded Rice’s Meritorious Award in 2010, and, in

1999, they were honored by Rice as Association for Fundraising Professionals National Philanthropy Day honorees. Mr. and Dr. Chao have supported numerous areas of Rice including endowing the T.T. and W.F. Chao Center for Asian Studies. They have also supported the School of Architecture, the Baker Institute’s Transnational China Project, and the Shepherd School of Music. As well, they created the T.T. and W.F. Chao Endowed Chair in Chemistry.

Dr. Chao was once again honored by Rice as Association for Fundraising Professionals National Philanthropy Day honoree in 2006. In 2009, Dr. Chao was Rice University’s Dissertation Award Co-Winner: Captain Charles Septimus Longcope Award in History for her dissertation on the social networks of Chen Duxiu. As well, she was honored by being selected one of the 50 Most Influential Women of Houston for 2011, and one of the Distinguished College Associates for Lovett College for 2011, 2012, and 2016.
In service to the wider community of Houston as a whole, Dr. Chao is a member of the Dunhuang Foundation; a member-at-large of the Executive Committee of the Houston Ballet Board; Director of Houston Endowment, Inc.; a member of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Board; and a member of the Teach for America, Houston Regional Advisory Board. Dr. Chao’s husband is a member of the Houston Grand Opera (HGO) Board of Directors, and together they have sponsored HGO special events, the HGO Studio, HGOco’s Song of Houston, and main-stage HGO productions. As well, the couple has supported the HGO Endowment through their family foundation, the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation.

Dr. Chao has dedicated her life to influencing and improving the lives of others through teaching, research, supporting numerous academic associations and working tirelessly for them, and by furthering the causes of numerous cultural organizations. It makes perfect sense that she should wake up smiling ever day knowing she has, in much more than a small way, made the world a better place.

CKW Luxe would like to congratulate Dr. Chao on being the Cosmic Star Award honoree. As the embodiment of the award, Dr. Chao has contributed, and continues to contribute, to the cultural awareness of the Houston community. She also serves as the perfect example of someone who balances her love of teaching and research with her love of the world of the arts. In so doing, she adds a deeper dimension to the lives of all those who benefit from her efforts.

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