On June 6, 2016, at the dedication of the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center, Harvard University noted: “This generous gift was given in tribute to the life and legacy of the late Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, beloved matriarch of this most prominent and accomplished Chinese-American family.”
The James S. C. Chao and Ruth Mulan Chu Chao family is known for their values, philanthropic activities, record of public service, and myriad contributions to society. Dr. James Si-Cheng Chao and his late wife, Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, have supported a diverse array of philanthropic endeavors as well as establishing the Ruth Mulan Chu and James S. C. Chao Family Fellowship Fund and Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Foundation with the focus of providing young people with more opportunities through access to higher education; promoting U.S.-Asia cultural exchanges; and supporting healthcare initiatives for the advancement of knowledge and care.
Dr. James S.C. Chao
Dr. James S. C. Chao is the founder of Foremost Group, a respected and well-known international shipping, trading and finance company headquartered in New York City where he now serves as Honorary Chairman.
An American of Chinese descent, he studied navigation in China and became one of the youngest Chinese sea captains in modern history. After receiving the highest score ever recorded on the Master Mariner Examination, he was sponsored for studies in the United States. After completing his MBA at St. John’s University in New York, he founded Foremost Maritime Corporation in 1964, later expanded to Foremost Group. Because of his decades of contributions and leadership, he was inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame at the United Nations in New York City.
He is an active and generous philanthropist, supporting many educational initiatives and scholarships in the U.S. and Asia. He has been honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards by innumerable organizations. Some examples of his awards and recognition are: The Museum of Chinese in America honored him and his family with its Inaugural Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award; the Chinese American Academic and Professional Society awarded him its Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award. Seamen’s Church Institute conferred upon Dr. Chao its highest honor, the Silver Bell Award.
He is the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Horatio Alger Award of Distinguished Americans at the U.S. Supreme Court. Massachusetts Maritime College awarded Dr. Chao its inaugural Admiral’s Distinguished Service Award for inspiring leadership and contributions to society. The Chinese Institute of Engineers USA presented its Centennial Medal to Dr. Chao for his leadership in adopting energy-efficient and eco-friendly ship design and technology.
Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao
Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, the late wife of Dr. James S. C. Chao, and the mother of their six daughters, is the “beloved matriarch of this most prominent and accomplished Chinese-American families.”1 Born in Anhui Province, China to a distinguished family that believed in the education of girls, she attended the famous and distinguished Ming-de High School in Nanjing.
During the Chinese Civil War, she and her family were forced to evacuate their ancestral home and relocate to Shanghai. There, she attended No. 1 High School in Jiading where she met her future husband, James S. C. Chao. But, wartime was not conducive to a courtship. At the height of the Chinese Civil War, Ruth’s family and she moved to Taiwan. There, two years later, after a determined search, James found her and they were reunited. A courtship ensued and they were married on November 12, 1951. When her husband immigrated to America to pursue advanced studies, Ruth held down the home front and took care of the family during his absence. The family was finally reunited three years later when Ruth and their three daughters arrived in America.
After raising her family, Ruth was finally able to complete her education which had been disrupted by the Chinese civil war, earning a Master’s Degree in Asian Literature and History from St. John’s University. She was an active volunteer and philanthropist, establishing a number of charitable foundations which provided thousands of scholarships to students. She passed away on August 2, 2007 after a long battle with lymphoma.
Angela Chao is the current Chair and C.E.O. of Foremost Group. She is a popular and highly sought speaker on international shipping, economics, and trade, having spoken at prominent forums including the World Shipping Summit and the International Maritime Council. Angela earned a B.A. in Economics from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She has served Foremost Group in various capacities including Assistant Vice President, Vice President, Senior Vice President, and Deputy Chair. As Senior Vice President, she ensured that the company’s shipping operations were in line with international standards and implemented strict safety regulations. Like her parents, Angela is an active philanthropist and dedicated to the improvement of U. S.-Asia relations through cultural and educational exchanges. She and her husband, Jim Breyer, are also enthusiastic supporters of America’s educational, cultural and art institutions.
Christine J Chao
Christine J. Chao is General Counsel at Foremost Group where she provides general corporate legal advice. Christine has extensive corporate and commercial law experience having worked in senior legal positions for three Fortune 100 companies: General Electric, Federal Express (in Hong Kong and London) and Ultramar Corporation. Christine began her legal career upon graduation from Columbia Law School with the Wall Street law firm of Dewey Ballantine (in New York and Hong Kong).
Christine currently serves as a Trustee for Colgate University and the Foremost Foundation, which strives to help young people access higher education and better opportunities in life. She also serves on the Boards of LitWorld, an organization devoted to promoting literacy around the world and The One Love Foundation, which is committed to educating young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Christine received her B.A. from Colgate University and her J.D. from Columbia Law School. She is married to Jos Shaver, and they have two sons, Ben, and Tyler. They currently reside in Greenwich, CT.
Other Chao Family Members
The other Chao daughters: Elaine, May, and Grace are notable women leaders in their own right who all attained their advanced degrees from prestigious American universities. Reflecting the values of their family and the tradition of their parents and siblings, they are active contributors to their communities and share a commitment of service to others.
© 2014 - Chao Family