Chang Wang’s welcome-to-America moment came shortly after he arrived in C-U via China to pursue a second master’s degree.
“Professor Jonathan Fineberg, one of the best art historians in the U.S. and my academic advisor, and his wife Marianne, a great novelist and painter, hosted a family dinner upon my arrival in August 2000,” says Wang (MA ’03, art history), now a law partner in the Minneapolis area. “They, and all the faculty and staff at School of Art and Design, taught me how to appreciate American art, history and culture.”
And his UI experience only got better from there.
“In April 2001, I had the great opportunity to work for Roger Ebert, film critic and an alumnus of the University of Illinois. He hosted his third annual Roger Ebert Overlooked Film Festival in Champaign. One of the 12 films selected was a Chinese film, ‘The King of Masks,’ by legendary Chinese filmmaker Wu Tianming.
“Probably because my undergraduate major was filmmaking, I was appointed and served as an assistant to Wu, Roger’s honorary guest and a good friend of his. I remember we walked around the Quad, discussing Chinese and American films. Roger delightedly accepted Wu’s invitation to visit Beijing. Unfortunately, due to Roger’s health condition, that visit was never materialized.
“I remember spending hours and hours at the University Library watching VHS tapes about American history, art and the Constitution. It was ‘Eye on the Prize,’ the PBS documentary series on the civil rights movement, that completely changed the trajectory of my life. After completed the master’s program in art history, I started law school at the University of Minnesota.
“Today, I practice art law and immigration law, while teaching U.S. constitutional law in China and Minnesota.”