Jim Amidon — Tuesday night members of the Wabash community came together to remember their fallen friend, Han Jiang, who died Thursday in an automobile accident about five blocks from campus. Linda Weaver, Carolyn Goff, and the whole cadre of Wabash Women provided a wonderful banquet of foods and desserts for Han’s Tau Kappa Epsilon and International Student Association brothers, community friends, and a few members of the faculty and staff.
It was typical Wabash: Hugs, handshakes, tears, and warm stories of a quiet, naive kid who came to Wabash from China, but got the most from his experience here. I asked Alex Goga for images of Han that might better illustrate the person; Alex answered my request with pictures of Han at the TKE Christmas party, hanging out in his room, eating Chinese food, and cheering at the Monon Bell Game. The pictures tell the story of a young man who had a very full and meaningful life at Wabash College.
My heart ached for Bo Jiang, Han’s father, when he arrived in Detchon Center. Bo had been to Wabash before in his capacity as both father and educational diplomat for the Chinese consulate in Chicago. He talked about the continuing need to build strong educational relationships between China and the United States and cited Wabash as a good example. Then he mustered the courage to speak of the kindnesses extended to his son and his family by the Wabash community. He even took the time to accept the sympathies from the entire crowd after the event, greeting each person with a warm and meaningful hug.
Many of us had hoped that by attending Bo would see the impact his son had on the Wabash community and be strengthened by it. Perhaps that was the case, but clearly he provided strength to the students, faculty, and staff in attendance with his warm hugs and handshakes.
Few can imagine the pain Han’s parents, Bo and Ying Huang, are experiencing. They have invested their lives in trying to provide international educational opportunities for Chinese students, and have invested all of their resources to provide their only child a Wabash education. Today they have only Han’s memory and their work to sustain them.
For Wabash, Han’s death provided a painful opportunity for students to come together in support of one another; to laugh, cry, and be angry together; and to remember someone who touched their lives but who now is gone. Those students will honor Han in death for the love he gave them in life.
April 15, 1985 to March 9, 2006
Some Little Giant!