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National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University


  • President's Letter

  • Publish Date:2024-04-25
Letters from the President: 01.Walking on the Path of Self-Choice
President (far right) with his family portrait from childhood.
The President (far right) with his childhood family portrait.
Narrated by NYCU President Chi-Hung Lin
Interviewed by Yen-Shen Chen, Written by Yen-Chien Lai


Dear students, faculty, and alumni,

I am Chi-Hung Lin, the President of National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU), hailing from the vibrant city of Hsinchu. I am an alumnus of the fifth graduating class of the College of Medicine at Yang Ming. After obtaining my doctoral degree from Yale University in 1994, I returned to my alma mater to teach.
I dare not proclaim that academic excellence inevitably leads to political office, yet between 2010 and 2018, I served within the public health sector, holding positions as the Director of the Department of Health in Taipei City and New Taipei City Government, dedicated to promoting various health policies.
In 2021, I had the great honor of being elected as the first President of NYCU. I am deeply grateful for everyone's support, which allowed me to be re-elected on March 6, 2024. It is truly a privilege to contribute to the establishment and growth of NYCU, this esteemed university. Together, let us turn our dreams into reality.

Letter from the President, Professor, and Senior Alumnus

I am a president, but more importantly, I am a professor and senior alumnus. I would like to share some stories and experiences from my life with colleagues and students. You may have experienced or are currently facing similar life challenges. Let us encourage each other.

This is my first letter.
Having served in public office and later becoming the President of NYCU, many people may assume that I have harbored ambitions of grandeur since childhood. However, reflecting on my journey thus far, I realize I didn't have many lofty goals; I have always followed my heart's desires.

We have five siblings in our family. I am the third eldest, with two older sisters, one younger brother, and one younger sister. In our childhood, our family leaned towards favoring boys over girls, but fortunately, I was not overly spoiled.

Fate with Hsinchu City

I was born in Hsinchu, but around the age of eight, in second grade, I left Hsinchu. It wasn't until 2019, after stepping down as the Director of the Department of Health in New Taipei City, I was brought back to Hsinchu by the then-president of NYCU, Mau-Chung Frank Chang. Fifty years after leaving Hsinchu, I returned to my hometown.
Looking back on the various connections between me and Hsinchu, I am filled with mixed emotions. Life is like a constantly intertwining river, and each past point is a story, not just a memory but also an inspiration for future stories.

Due to my father's job, I changed schools three times during elementary school and in different cities. Each school stay was relatively short, typically at most two years. Although this experience prevented me from forming deep friendships with classmates since I would move just as friendships developed, it also honed my observational skills and adaptability.

Because of frequent moves, I routinely observed for a while upon arriving at a new place. I don't rush to express my thoughts. I hold a similar attitude towards the merger of Yang Ming and Chiao Tung University. The merger of both universities is a process that has taken more than twenty years to complete. Now, we are in an adaptation phase, and how to stabilize integration and make changes is crucial in the merger process.

The Unconventional Path to Studying Medicine

It's true that I didn't have lofty goals in the past and instead followed my heart's desires. Many classmates excelled and were already conducting laboratory research during my university life, while I was not. So, what was I doing?

I was busy exploring various interests.

To put it this way, although my grades were decent, and I never had to retake exams or fail any courses, compared to many classmates who were determined to become outstanding scientists, I chose to accumulate various experiences.

For example, I participated in related protest activities when Sino-American relations were severed at Taipei Municipal Chien Kuo High School. In my first and second years at Yang Ming University, I particularly enjoyed making experimental films in 8mm format. I served as an editor for Yang Ming's campus magazine, "Shen Nong Po (神農坡)."

My idea of "playing" involved engaging in activities unrelated to coursework.

To be candid, I didn't have a clear career plan during my academic journey, but I was always filled with a desire for challenges, never content with repetitive, mundane tasks. I didn't overly pursue high grades and academic achievements, but rather, I was curious about the unknown and passionate about exploration.

I still remember when the professors at the College of Medicine thought I might develop into an orthopedic or obstetrics and gynecology doctor. However, while serving as a medical officer in Huwei, Yunlin County (Huwei as a small town in Taiwan) , my perspective on clinical work suddenly changed. I became unwilling to pursue becoming a general practitioner, a career choice most medical graduates opt for. This experience of serving in the military prompted me to consider changing my career trajectory.

Becoming Serious: Known as “Iron Butt”

Reflecting on my military days, I realize they were a significant cultural shock. I served as a medical officer in the military, and at night, I would assist in the nearby hospital's night clinic. One night, I might have to see fifty to sixty patients, each going through similar experiences. I was only 26 or 27 years old, filled with uncertainty and doubts about the future. I didn't enjoy repetitive tasks, and this experience made me think: being a doctor is great, but is this how I genuinely want to spend my whole life?

To change the status quo, I decided to participate in a government scholarship program to study abroad, giving myself another chance.

At that time, while serving in the military, I was preparing for the exam. My comrades called me "Iron Butt" because, except for meal times, I was always sitting in the dormitory studying. I read original textbooks from cover to cover for the first time during that period. After more than a year of effort, I finally passed the study abroad exam.

However, due to the need to prepare for language certification and other plans before going abroad, the TOEFL exam in Taiwan was only held once every two months. Therefore, to meet the deadline for submitting my scores, shortly after getting married, I took advantage of my honeymoon trip to Hong Kong to also take the TOEFL exam. During this exam period, my wife occasionally teased me, which I find amusing to look back on now.

Even though I wasn't the fastest runner, these were things I wanted to do myself, and I genuinely enjoyed studying, so I didn't feel it was a hardship.

Life is Yours When You Follow Your Passions

I want to let you know that I dare not claim to have succeeded, but I've followed my interests throughout my life without dwelling too much on the future. If attempting to predict how to succeed in the future means you must do certain things a certain way now, then such a thought process doesn't work for me. 

Because our personalities and interests are usually relatively stable, it’s better to pursue what you genuinely love instead of struggling with a job you don’t like or sacrificing your interests for a higher salary. While your income may be low and your experiences may not be smooth, everything you do will be driven by your passion. It's your choice and your life.

Peace be with you as we walk on the path we have chosen for ourselves.

President of National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University,
President of National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University,
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