Richard H Chiu Biography

Chapter 2 America: Schooling and Early Employment

Richard Hung-hsiung Chiu was able to provide a bond that secured his student visa and he was accepted as a student at the Church College of Hawaii, now BYU Hawaii in Laie on Oahu near where the temple is located.

He earned an assoicate degree in business and set his sights on continuing his studies on the mainland of America at BYU in Provo, Utah where he was accepted as a graduate student in Civil Engineering. After spending the summer working for an engineering firm in Idaho, where he bunked down in the engineer's office and cooked his eggs on the heater, he finally reached the BYU where he began work on his Masters Degree.

"In engineering school I earned a reputation as an enterprising student, willing to take on challenges. Professor Alan Firmage asked me to co-author a book with him. I held three jobs while carrying a full academic load and maintaining an honors average for which I was selected to Phi Kappa Phi honor fraternity."

At BYU Richard roomed with other Chinese students and participated in the activities of the Chinese Students Association. It was a disparate mix of young people from many regions of China. Some had been born in cities like Shanghai and Canton in the years before the Communists took away the livelihood of their parents, driving them to emigrate to Hong Kong. Others considered themselves 'Taiwanese' and the resented the 'Mainlanders' who had come to their island country seeking refuge.

In the Fall Semester of 1961 Richard was teaching a beginning class in Mandarin. Most of the students in the class were returned missionaries who had served in Hong Kong who knew Cantonese and already knew a fair amount of written Chinese. One of the students was an eighteen year old girl named Pat Heywood who had no prior knowledge of Chinese in any form. After a week or so Richard was told that he could only be a TA in one discipline and he chose to give up the Mandarin class and continue as an engineering TA. It was not until several months later at the end of the semester when his friend Johnny Ho invited him to come along to dinner at Heritage Halls that Richard met Pat Heywood again. She was leaving Provo and her studies at BYU and returning to her home in Salt Lake City.

Richard had finished his studies at the BYU and he was moving to Salt Lake City where he had taken a job with the Utah State Highway department as a bridge design engineer. It was the beginning of the attempt to link the country with a freeway system and many bridges would be needed. Several other bridges would be built as part of the Flaming Gorge and Glen Canyon Dam projects. Richard was the chief designer for two bridges that won national awards when they were completed.

In looking back over the many professional accomplishments of his life, Richard feels taht it was the two bridges pictured above that are the greatest highlights of his career as a structural engineer. Both won national design awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction.

The Bridge over Glen Canyon Dam

Cart Creek Bridge at Flaming Gorge Dam