Jin Wu, 61MS, 64PhD, an eminent engineer and internationally recognized educator, is Distinguished Professor of Engineering at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in the Republic of China (Taiwan), where he implemented significant reform as NCKU's president and the country's former Minister of Education. In 1980, Wu was appointed the University of Delaware's H. Fletcher Brown Professor of Marine Studies and Civil Engineering, and he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering in 1995.
Wu was quick to build a solid foundation of outstanding research experience. Upon graduation from the University of Iowa, he took a position as a research scientist in the Fluid Motions Division of Hydronautics, Inc. In 1966, he became division head, and in 1972, he was named head of the Division of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics.
His academic career has also been marked by stellar accomplishment. In 1975, Wu became associate professor of Marine Studies and Civil Engineering at the University of Delaware, home of his initiative, the Air-Sea Interaction Laboratory. Among the many honors and awards that dot his career, perhaps the two most important came to him in 1986 and 1995, when he was inducted into first the Academia Sinica (National Academy of Sciences, Republic of China) and then the National Academy of Engineering (the engineering branch of the National Academies of Sciences). These are the highest professional recognitions an engineer can receive. In his induction, he was commended for his milestone research in understanding the motion of air and water at the water's surface and the resulting surface waves.
Wu left the University of Delaware in 1994 to become president of Cheng Kung University, one of Taiwan's most prestigious institutions of higher learning. Appointed Minister of Education for the Republic of Taiwan in 1996, he implemented significant reform in the country's educational system. Changes included a relaxation of government control of educational programs at all levels, development of educational programs relevant to social needs, and establishment of procedures to increase high school enrollment and expand higher education. He has been able to generate a consensus, which his predecessors had been unable to do, and get movement toward education reform rolling and on track.
Over the past few years, Wu has returned on occasion to the University of Iowa. Most recently, in 1997, Wu received the Stanley Distinguished Fellow award from the UI College of Engineering in recognition of his unwavering commitment to leadership and his passion for professional and civic duty. He has also graciously accepted an invitation to work as one of the charter members of the newly formed board for the world-renowned Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research.
With more than three decades of service to the University of Iowa, his profession, his community, educational development, and the public in general, Wu serves as an exemplary role model for young engineers and for fellow educators.