A new scholarship established in the West Virginia University School of Music honors the memory of a young Chinese woman named Ho-Ping Cheung, who was only 17 years old when she died in Hong Kong in 1962.
Although she was born and died many miles and worlds away from WVU, Ho-Ping has close connections to the University through her family, which has pledged $25,000 to the College of Creative Arts to establish the Ho-Ping Cheung Memorial Music Scholarship.
The scholarship is for music performance majors, either undergraduate or graduate students, in the WVU School of Music who are in good academic standing.
Ho-Ping Cheung was born on April 28, 1945, in Chongqing, China, and was killed in a traffic accident while waiting for a bus to school on May 21, 1962, in Kowloon City, Hong Kong.
Her brother, Bob Cheung, graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1965, a master’s degree in 1967 and a doctorate in 1973.
Bob’s daughter, Amy Cheung, graduated from the WVU School of Music in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in piano performance, where she was named the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the College of Creative Arts.
“Ho-Ping would have been very proud of her family’s accomplishments at WVU and probably would be overjoyed if she could have been a Mountaineer,” Bob Cheung said. “She was not granted the gift of time and did not have the opportunity to experience her family’s many blessings.
“In her memory, this scholarship has been established to help a fellow WVU Mountaineer, and to remind all of us to appreciate the gift of time. We wish the recipient of this scholarship the best in all of his or her pursuits.
“I also wish to thank my wife, Susan, and our children, Albert and Amy, for agreeing to the funding of the scholarship and to include WVU in our family estate plans,” he said. “And I want to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to our relatives and friends who have contributed to this scholarship and especially to those who never met Ho-Ping.”
After graduating from WVU, Bob Cheung taught psychology at Elizabethtown College, near Harrisburg, Pa., for 11 years and eventually became the chairman of the Department of Psychology. In 1981, he left teaching to go into business, organizing tours to China.
Albert Cheung did his internship at the WVU Center for Neuroscience while earning his undergraduate degree from Grove City College, north of Pittsburgh. He then went to medical school at Penn State University and is currently doing his residency in Michigan.
“Amy graduated from high school in 2008 and applied to WVU after we visited her brother in Morgantown during his internship in 2007,” Bob Cheung said. “WVU wasn’t even on her list before that. She ended up getting a full scholarship to study piano performance at WVU.”
In addition to earning her Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance, Amy also graduated with a major in Chinese Studies from the WVU Eberly College of Arts & Sciences. She was awarded the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship, which enabled her to study at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics during the summer of 2010, and she was honored by the WVU Foundation as an Outstanding Senior of the class of 2012.
Since graduating from WVU, she has continued her piano studies at the State University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart, Germany.
Bob Cheung said Amy’s graduation in 2012 was a very touching moment for him and his wife Susan. As the top graduate in the College of Creative Arts, and in the School of Music, she gave a performance on the piano and also spoke to the audience.
She chose to perform Chopin’s “Ballade No. 3 in A-Flat major, Op. 47.”
“This piece to me has always evoked images of a long journey, full of twists and turns and unexpected surprises,” she said to the audience. “It begins tentatively and ends with a bang. So I thought it was a fitting analogue to all of our Mountaineer adventures and to each of our personal journeys here at West Virginia University.”
“When my daughter graduated from WVU, we were greatly honored when she had the opportunity to perform and address the audience,” Bob Cheung said. “I was so touched and I was thinking of my sister and how wonderful it would be if my sister were there.
“Now I want my sister to be honored and remembered through this gift, which is also a way of passing the torch to a new generation.”
The Cheung family contribution was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $750 million comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2015.
CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.