Succession Is the Best Commemoration
In Commemoration of Late Professor Long Yanquan 2016-12-06

    As a Chinese saying goes, indigo blue, extracted from blue, is always bluer and ice, transformed from water, always colder. The tradition of successors always ensuing from their master is a Chinese virtue. Here are a couple of stories to be told by one of his followers Zhu Yongqiang of professor Long Yanquan about his work as a teacher at TUST, stories of a master and his successors.

    Long Yanquan (1919.12-2004.6), a distinguished scholar of Pulp and Paper-making in China, is one of the pioneers to establish Pulp and Paper-making Engineering as a higher education program and an academic leader in this field. He had long been engaged in Pulp and Paper-making Engineering as a college teacher who commenced to accept Master’s degree candidates in 1959 and to recruit doctoral ones in 1983 in that he was one of the two doctoral tutors specializing in Pulp and Paper-making Engineering as China’s first batch in this discipline.  Altogether 17 Master’s degree winners and 15 doctoral degree holders working at home and abroad professor Long had produced for the development of China’s paper-making industry.

    Zhu Yongqiang is one of them. Dr. Zhu, first a Master’s degree student and then a doctoral one under the guidance of Mr. Long, had studied with his master for six years. After graduation, he, who served once as director of Paper Production Clean Technology and Engineering Center of Shanghai University and chief of Paper-making Wet End Chemistry Research Institute of Shanghai Institute of Technology respectively, is currently general manager of Shanghai Shangda Lingpo Petrochemical Science and Technology Co., Ltd., a famed and influential young entrepreneur in the paper-making industry and a scholarly entrepreneur committed to the industrialization of pulp and paper research.
Deep respect was extended to professor Long in the remarks made by Dr. Zhu when he commented, “No single soul in the paper-making industry does not know about Mr. Long who can be reasonably hailed as a top-rank master. And, you know, the textbooks that got me to know paper-making as a college major were compiled by Mr. Long who also wrote and published coursebooks regarding the very basics of pulp and paper-making. His name was usually put directly on the cover of all such books needed by the pulp and paper-making professionals to be their knowledge base as Paper Pulp Science, Paper-making Science, Paper-making Engineering, Pulp and Paper-making Technology (Volume One and Volume Two). Therefore, Mr. Long is the leading master of paper-making in the eyes of our young students”.

    A Revered Man of Virtue and a Nice Teacher with a Liberal Mind

    So far, it is his liberalness and considerateness that stop Dr. Zhu from forgetting his master. “I remember my 1989 interview is the first time I met with my tutor when he asked me about my idea of the future research papers. My answer was that the neutral paper-making would become the future trend since the weakest part of China’s paper-making industry was still the paper chemicals. So, neutral sizing agents are where my future research goes. Hearing that, Mr. Long nodded his agreement. Later on, my master thesis and doctoral dissertation are both working on the neutral sizing agents indeed.”

   This is far beyond Zhu’s expectations simply because it is a rule for tutors to assign their students to do what they currently do mainly out of two considerations: for one thing, it helps their current research efforts to go further and, for another, it is easy to handle. The puzzle lies in the consent made by Mr. Long to allow Zhu to try something that goes beyond his regular research endeavor. It turns out that it is thanks to Mr. Long’s open-mindedness that Zhu Yongqiang has the chance to get well prepared for his business achievements today. So, unlike many so-called teacher bosses now, Mr. Long is well respected and well respects ideas cherished by others, a virtue that makes him a real scholar. 

    Dedicated to Scientific Research and to the Service of Students

    What impressed and touched Zhu Yongqiang most is an accidental happening. “Mr. Long was hospitalized with sickness, I remember, only two days after I handed in my draft of Master’s degree thesis. We were pressed by time because the school stipulated that the thesis defense shall be completed by the end of April that year. But, my teacher assured me that he would make it when I paid him a visit at the hospital. Lying on a hospital bed, Mr. Long rearranged his daily agenda in a countdown manner to decide on the very date when I could go to get the revised draft. In this way, while suffering from hours of intravenous injection on bed Mr. Long succeeded in revising my thesis on time, which ensured the oral defense to be held on April 28 as scheduled.”

    In fact, Mr. Long repeatedly urged his students in their daily scientific work to show enough respect for science by reiterating, “Your experiment data should be detailed, and analyses scientific.” Every time he finished revising a paper he was sure to say, “I have modified the paper you have written and the final version is up to you, but always keep in mind that we must meet the principle of being scientific and objective.”

    It is professionalism and responsibility that set Mr. Long an example for students to copy. Confined by his poor health, Mr. Long didn’t move easily and freely, but he insisted on a weekly visit to the library, reading materials to keep abreast with the latest developments in paper-making technology. Nearly 30 articles on the neutral sizing were retrieved by Mr. Long himself to guide and help the research progress of Zhu Yongqiang before he had his Master’s research proposal approved.
According to Dr. Zhu, young science workers ought to learn from his teacher a rigorous scientific attitude and a lofty degree of professionalism.

    Before graduation, when informed of Mr. Long hoping to offer him a teaching job at TUST, Dr. Zhu had a candid conversation with his teacher during which he unveiled his plan to enter South China University of Technology for a post-doctoral study to continue his neutral sizing research. Upon hearing his idea of neutral sizing industrialization Mr. Long was very pleased and added, “Yongqiang, if you open a company in the future, I am to be one of your shareholders!”

   Subsequently, Mr. Long wrote South China University of Technology a letter of recommendations for Zhu Yongjiang to join its postdoctoral program at its State Key Laboratory.

    The kindness Mr. Long showered Dr. Zhu is so unforgettable that the scene never ever fades away.
In 2005, “Zhu Yongqiang Scholarship” was set up at TUST as a return to reward those students from the School of Material Science and Chemical Engineering who distinguish themselves in their paper-making research based on their prominent performance in virtue, aptitude, learning, innovation and practice. So far, there are 60 winners. 

    Editor Postscript: We are touched by Mr. Long due to his liberalness in academic work, his responsibility for his students and his commitment to his job. Inherited from his master his expertise and his professional ethics, Dr. Zhu grows into a model for contemporary youth. Although Mr. Long has passed away, the good news is that the legacy left by Mr. Long has developed into a TUST attitude with its high degree of professionalism and responsibility transforming into an intangible asset of this University.

Tianjin University of Science & Technology

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