Foundation Honors Laupus
By Crystal Baity
The exhibit gallery on the fourth floor of East Carolina University’s Laupus Library has been named in honor of Evelyn Fike Laupus by the Ji and Li Family Foundation. The foundation is directed by Dr. Yuandong Ji and his wife Dr. Chunguang Li of Greenville, and their son, Niuniu Ji of Boca Raton, Fla.
Evelyn Laupus was married almost 60 years to the late Dr. William Laupus, who served as dean of the ECU School of Medicine from 1975 to 1988, one of five university vice chancellors from 1982 to 1987, and vice chancellor for health sciences from 1987 to 1989. The health sciences library is named for Laupus, who died in 2005.
A painted portrait of Evelyn Laupus was unveiled during a Sept. 7 ceremony attended by about 100 friends and guests including Evelyn Laupus’ children, William Laupus Jr. and Patricia, both of Atlanta, Ga. Also in attendance was former ECU Chancellor Richard Eakin. Speakers were Dr. Dorothy Spencer, director of Laupus Library; Michael Dowdy, vice chancellor for the ECU Division of University Advancement; Max Ray Joyner, longtime friend; Dr. Ruth Moskop, curator and head of history collections for Laupus Library; and Sue Pennington, longtime friend.
In remembrance of the occasion, Spencer presented Evelyn Laupus and Ji and Li with a medallion of the bronze of Dr. Laupus located at the library entrance.
Li and Laupus met in 1984 when an ECU medical school delegation visited Tianjin Medical College in Tianjin, China, where Li was an assistant professor of medicine and assigned as interpreter for the group.
During the visit, Laupus learned that Li wanted to move to the United States to be closer to her husband, then a doctoral student at Case Western Reserve University. Forging a lifelong friendship, Laupus helped Li apply to ECU to study for her doctorate in physiology, which she earned in 1991. The Laupus family continued to mentor the Li and Ji family over the years.
Li is in private practice and business, and Dr. Ji and Niuniu Ji work in the technology industry and are successful entrepreneurs.