What a long, strange trip it’s been.
You’ve taught courses that carried students from the Trojan War to Vietnam. Encouraged them to find the history of America in family photo albums. Helped alumni bridge the connections between mindfulness and fly fishing.
Your personal interests are as varied as your academic ones. Which is why one former student still remembers asking about your sabbatical plans, and you said, “I’m going to learn to cook a really good fried chicken.”
But while you know how to have fun, you’re dead serious about scholarship and teaching. Your research on Chinese American life during the late 1800s and early 1900s helped shape the field of Asian American studies. Typical student reminiscences say, “Growing up as a child of immigrants, it was incredibly eye opening to be able to contextualize my own life in the scope of history” and “Dr. Wong set me on a path where I could pursue answers to the questions most relevant to my life.” You’re as beloved by the many faculty you’ve mentored, as you are by the seniors whose theses you’ve supervised. Over time, you made your story part of the Williams story, too, laying the groundwork for our new Asian American Studies program. Now your papers will be preserved in the Chapin Library because, in the process of teaching and studying history, you’ve made Williams history yourself.
There’s plenty more of that story to come. To paraphrase one of your favorite artists, Bob Dylan: “though the line is cut/It ain’t quite the end/so we’ll just bid farewell till we meet again.”
I hereby declare you Charles R. Keller Professor of History, Emeritus, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.
June 5, 2022