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Brief History

UHD along the Buffalo Bayou

In the context of globalization and a focus on the cooperation between the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) and its counterparts in Taiwan and China, the Bayou Connection Program is a grass-roots initiative. After joining the Department of Criminal Justice (now the Department of Criminal Justice  and Social Work) in 2001, Dr. Wang with the support of Dr. Beth Pelz, (former chair of the Department of Criminal Justice), organized the first UHD delegation to Taiwan in December 2002. The delegation was led by Dr. Michael Dressman, (former dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences). This trip resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to serve as an academic compact between the National Chung-Cheng University (CCU) and the University of Houston-Downtown. Per this agreement, two Taiwanese students participated in a newly developed graduate program in security management at UHD in the fall of 2004. 

In August 2005, a delegation from the Central Police University (CPU) came to UHD in order to discuss future plans between CPU and UHD. Under the leadership of the Bayou Connection Program. Dr. Max Castillo, the President of the UHD, and Dr. Ui-An Lo, the Vice President of the CPU, jointly signed an MOU between CPU and UHD. In November 2005, Dr. Wang organized another UHD delegation led by Dr. Castillo to Taiwan. This trip not only strengthened the relationship between UHD and its counterparts in Taiwan but also established the relationship with Dr. Yung-Fa Chang, the chairman of Evergreen Corp. in Taiwan. From 2005 - 2010, Dr. Chang donated $200,000 to UHD. In addition, other donations in the amount of $20,000 from the local Chinese/Taiwanese community were also gifted to UHD. These monetary gifts were used to provide 173 scholarships for Taiwanese students studying at UHD. 

In November 2010, the Taiwan Economic Cultural Office (TECO) - Houston Education Division, arranged for UHD's new President Dr. William Flores to receive an official invitation to visit Taiwan. However, President Flores' health prevented him from attending. Therefore, the third UHD delegation to Taiwan was led by Dr. Dressman. This trip resulted in a new partnership with the National Tainan University. Moreover, a commitment of $2,000,000 endowment was presented by Dr. Chang to UHD. 

Dr. Chang's two-million charity established an endowment for "students-in-need" at UHD in May 2011. Eight recipients received $4,000 each in May 2012. To date, UHD has awarded the Chang Yung-fa Foundation scholarship to 173 outstanding students, and more than 150 Chang Scholars have graduated from UHD. Dr. Wang is responsible for conducting home visits of scholarship applicants with respect to Dr. Chang's wish. A home visit is a challenging task. Dr. Wang with the help of his wife, who serves as a Bayou Connection Program volunteer, visit each candidate across the greater Houston area each summer. Dr. Chang passed away in 2016; however, Dr. Wang and his wife continue the home visits in memory of Dr. Chang and his unselfish love for UHD and its students. As such, Ms. Demie Chung, Executive Director of Chang Yung-Fa Foundation, wrote a letter (December 6, 2017) to UHD to recognize Dr. Wang's efforts, stating her appreciation for the time and effort he has "... put into our scholarship distribution so smoothly every year since 2012."

In June 2012, Dr. Wang organized the fourth UHD Delegation to Taiwan led by Dr. Flores. This trip resulted in two more sister schools in Taiwan, Ming Chuan University, and Chung Hua University agreeing to send students to UHD. On March 7, 2013, the TECO Director of General Liao gave a presentation entitled "Understanding Taiwan" in the UHD Auditorium. Liao's presentation discussed the importance of moving forward by invigorating old partnerships and opening doors for new ones. Liao's speech emphasized the importance of Taiwanese students to have the availability to study at UHD and how cross-cultural partnerships give new life to al involved. In 2017, the College of Public Service Dean Vanhorn for helping the growth of Bayou Connection appointedd. Dr. Judith Harris to serve as the ass. director of the Bayou Connection Program.