The Chinese Bridge Project was a joint creation. Many people were involved with the creation and implementation of the project including Chinese Professor and Director of the Lehigh in Shanghai Internship Program Connie Cook, Religion Professor Norman Girardot, Architecture Professor Tony Viscardi, and Visiting Post-Doctorate Research Fellow Dongning Wang. The project recognizes the increasingly prominent role China plays in world affairs today and also emphasizes Lehigh’s historical relationship with China. Lehigh University and China have a 130-year history that continues today with many Chinese students choosing to study at Lehigh University.
One of the primary aims of the Chinese Bridge Project was to attract a broader spectrum of students studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) into Chinese studies than would traditionally be the case. The goal was to have students from a variety of academic backgrounds collaborate in a design project that involves creating a more modern interpretation of the traditional Chinese Rainbow Bridge for the Lehigh community.
The “Bridge” aspect of the project may be interpreted in a variety of ways. Most literally, the bridge is a physical object that represents the collective effort of Lehigh students and staff for the benefit of the entire campus community--to this effect, an actual bridge was built in 2011 on the Lehigh campus. However, the “Bridge” component also has a greater symbolic importance. As a symbol, the “Bridge” represents an effort to strengthen cultural ties between Lehigh University and China while also improving community relationships between the City of Bethlehem and Lehigh.
This project relies on funding from the Luce Foundation. This foundation was established in 1936 and is a not-for-profit corporation founded by Henry R. Luce. Luce’s parents where missionary educators in China. The Luce Foundation’s mission is to “build upon the vision and values of four generations of the Luce family: broadening knowledge and encouraging the highest standards of service and leadership.” The foundation’s website: http://www.hluce.org/Home.aspx