Wenguang Huang

Wenguang HuangCurrent Location: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Born in Xian, China

UIS Degree: M.A. 1991 (Public Affairs Reporting)
Other Degrees and Awards: M.A. Fudan University, B.A. Fudan University, University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award 2015

Current Position
Writer, journalist and translator. Currently works as a news officer at the University of Chicago.

Career Highlights
Huang has served as a staff researcher for the New York Times Beijing bureau, division manager of media relations for Rotary International, assistant vice president of corporate affairs for HSBC-North America, and as a writer for AON Corporation.

His articles and translations have appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal Asia, The Daily Beast, and Harper’s magazine. Huang wrote his own memoir, The Little Red Guard in 2012, and co-authored A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel, Murder, Money, and an Epic Power Struggle in China. Huang is best known for translating into English the books of noted Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and writers Liao Yiwu and Yang Xianhui.

Memories of SSU/UIS:
“The first day on campus, I searched in vain for impressive buildings that are normally associated with big U.S. universities. All I found was a long red brick building surrounded by a vast expanse of cornfield. However, the university without any grand buildings and the community without any skyscrapers did not disappoint. Many foreign students and I received more personal attention and care than would have been imaginable in a bigger university.

I had a taste of the sweetness of free speech when I submitted an article to the school newspaper, SSUNews, criticizing the Western media for their sensationalized coverage of the student movement in China. Instead of getting into trouble for holding dissenting views, as I would have in my native country, my editor, several professors and readers praised my honesty. Those two articles are now framed and hang in my study.”

How did UIS change or prepare you?
“I found my passion in journalism. Professor Mary Bohlen and the late Bill Miller decided to take a chance on me and recruited me as the first international student for the public affairs reporting program. They taught me how to write up a news story in thirty minutes after Senator Dick Durbin came to discuss a piece of legislation that he had introduced and how to ask Governor Jim Edgar tough questions at press conferences. Such training benefitted me tremendously, enabling me to take up challenging assignments later in my career.”

Interesting Fact
“I published my first English article in the U.S. in the SSUNews. I worked as a lab assistant for Professor Jeffrey Chesky and my job was to monitor the white rats, making sure the rodents swim vigorously inside a big water tank for an hour every day. My most favorite activity at the Illinois State Fair was to have a picture taken next to the butter cow.”

Posted on January 12, 2016