Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to H.B. Wells, vice-president of Burdett College


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Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to H.B. Wells, vice-president of Burdett College


Letter from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to H.B. Wells, vice-president of Burdett College


Typed letter sent from Dr. Alfred E. Stearns to H.B. Wells, vice-president of Burdett College, about the current academic situation with K.Y. Tu. States that Tu has been different from his other wards. Believes it a waste of time and his father's money attend school in America. Met with Tu's father in person twice, and explained the situation. Decided to send Tu into business training. Does not believe Tu will change his ways. Is willing to try the plan created by Burdett faculty before making any final decisions.


January 14, 1931
Vice-President, H.B. Wells
Burdett College
156 Stuart Street
Boston, Massachusetts

My dear Mr.Wells:

I am deeply indebted to you for the exceptionally generous and helpful way in which you have investigated and reported for me in the case of Mr. Kong. Y. Tu. The report is naturally very discouraging, but altogether too familiar in its general character.
During the past thirty years I have had to deal at first hand, in most cases acting as their American guardign, with some sixty or seventy Chinese students in this country. At the present moment I have three in my care, of whom Tu is one. With only one other or possibly two other exceptions, Tu differs completely from the main body of these students, and in just the ways that you have so clearly outlined. He has been a problem from the start, and on several occasions I urged his father to take him back to China, as it seemed to me that it was a sheer waste of time for the boy to stay here longer, pretending to study when he was getting no here, and to waste also the father's money, of which Mr.Tu, Senior, has none too much.

Last year Mr. Du Senior, for many years an admiral in the Chinese Navy, called on me in person, and I met him again a few weeks later in England. Through the interpreter whom Admiral Tu carried with him, we went into every detail of Kong's situation, and I held back nothing. The father's distress was manifest for he is a man of exceptionally fine character himself, and filled with ambitions for his son. After many discussions, it was decided to give Kong one more chance in this country, but to drop all thought of giving him any further education along cultural or purely scholastic lines and to turn him to a straight business training. That is why he was finally sent to you.

From your report, I am led to believe that we must abandon all hope of changing this boy's general make-up and points of view. He lacks ambition, he lacks stability, and I am afraid he lacks any rigid and compelling moral standards. It has been my hope all along that he would emerge from his lethargy - or worse - if we gave him time, but he is far older than he ought to be in view of his progress to date and I am pretty sure that further efforts to educate him in this country along any lines will be only wasted. In view of the special plans which you have made for the boy, however, I am ready to wait a bit before making the decision operative. Certainly this final test ought to convince us one way or the other, and it certainly offer the boy himself his chance to prove his worth. I shall deeply appreciate, therefore, any further reports which you are willing to send me, reports which I trust you will make with the same frankness and clearness with which you have made this present one.

Again let me thank you for the great care you have taken in securing for me the information desired, and believe me

Very sincerely yours.


Dr. Alfred E. Stearns


Phillips Academy


January 14, 1931


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