Unable to come to Logan to be honored, one of Utah State University's Centennial honorees received a medallion and plaque in his office in Honolulu.
Two others with a vital and personal interest in heart implants but with differing reasons for their interest came together coincidentally on campus during the celebration.Hung Wo Ching, a prominent Hawaiian businessman, was one of 30 alumni selected for USU Special Centennial Recognition. Most of the awards have been made during the centennial year at recognition dinners held on campus.
But when it was learned Ching would not be able to come to Logan for the last of the dinners, USU Centennial chairman William F. Lye enlisted the help of another prominent alumnus, Jay R. Bingham.
Bingham, former president of the USU Alumni Association, is a friend of Ching and often visits him in Hawaii, where Bingham is working on a major water and resource development project for his company, Bingham Engineering of Salt Lake City.
So Bingham represented USU in taking the centennial award to Ching.
Ching has been a generous donor to various projects at USU, most recently $52,000 to the new Education Building. That figure was arrived at, Lye said, because Ching wanted to give $1,000 for each year since his graduation in 1936.
Two other honorees, Dr. Donald B. Olsen, Salt Lake City, and Richard Headlee, Farmington, Mich., met on the USU campus and had much to talk about. Both were among 30 prominent alumni who received the university's Centennial Recognition.
Headlee is a former Utahn and a 1953 USU graduate. After receiving medallion and plaque, he expressed appreciation for the honor and for life itself. Only recently, he said, he received a heart transplant that has given him new life and health and made it possible to attend the ceremony.
He voiced his gratitude for "a 22-year-old man who had the foresight to be an organ donor."
Moments later, Olsen, a 1952 USU graduate, was recognized. He reviewed his work as director of the Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Artificial Heart Research Laboratory at the University of Utah.
Olsen, who helped develop the artificial heart and techniques for implantation, then addressed Headlee more personally.
If his own heart had been too badly diseased to keep him alive until a donor was found, the Utah Heart could have done so, Olsen told Headlee. A number of patients are currently being kept alive with the heart, awaiting donors, after their own hearts have deteriorated badly, he said.
Headlee expressed interest in heart research programs. He is president of Alexander Hamilton Life Insurance Co., was the Republican nominee for governor of Michigan in 1982 and is former national president of the Jaycees.