Saturday, November 1, 2014

371. Poor Richard Meets Confucius, and the True Story of the Franklin Stove

This title is borrowed from Dr. John Ruff’s speech in China. I was deeply impressed by Dr. Ruff candid and clear statement, “I first became aware of the Chinese influence on American founders through the writings of Dave Wang, an independent scholar living in New York who writes extensively on the subject.” Dr. Ruff’s testimony serves as another important indicator of showing the academic impact of Dr. Dave Wang’s research on American scholars and professors. Dr. John Ruff, a professor of Valparaiso University, delivered his speech at Chinese Zhejiang University of Technology in Hangzhou on June 7, 2013. According to the University’s webpage, Dr. Ruff talked the following in his speech: Introduced Poor Richard, a character from Benjamin Franklin’s Almanac, and showed some passages from Franklin’s The Way to Wealth. He also told the true story of the Franklin Stove and its link to China.

In his speech, Professor Ruff connected Franklin to Confucius, and Confucius’ influence on Franklin’s life and happiness. He also introduced Franklin’s 13 virtues and Franklin’s efforts for achieving them. Dr. Ruff served as Director of the Valparaiso University First Year Core Program. He was former assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Valparaiso and presently vice-chair of the Faculty Senate. Ruff has a keen interest in ancient and contemporary Chinese culture. He has made several presentations at academic conferences on the Eastern and Western thoughts. In 2012, Dr. Ruff, earned the Valparaiso University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award. In the spring of 2013 he delivered a lecture on Chinese cultural influence on Benjamin Franklin at Ansal University in Delhi, India.

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