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Alumni Leader: Q&A with Bozhong Xue ’12

The vice president of the NU Club of Beijing talks about his reasons for supporting Northwestern, his work to develop a curriculum about Chinese culture for international high schools, his studies as a Schwarzman Scholar and his dream to become mayor of a Chinese city.

bozhong xue
Bozhong Xue, who is also known as Peter, created the Zhi Yin Music Scholarship Fund to support Bienen School of Music students from China.Image: Jim Prisching

Spring 2019

Since returning home to China seven years ago, Bozhong Xue has revitalized the NU Club of Beijing, interviewed prospective students as a member of the Alumni Admission Council, recruited high school students to volunteer for the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra concert last spring and supported international student scholarships at the Bienen School of Music. For his efforts, Xue received the inaugural Northwestern Alumni Association President’s Award in September.  

What brought you to Northwestern?

I was raised in Beijing. In high school I wanted to study abroad to explore different worldviews, and I was amazed by the beauty of the Northwestern campus and the city of Chicago. My dream was to become a mayor of a city in China. I double majored in civil engineering and sociology, thinking it was important to know how society functions and how people think. I decided to go out for the Northwestern marching band [clarinet] because I wanted to explore American culture. I learned a lot and feel very proud to have been a part of the band.

How has Northwestern impacted your career as an entrepreneur and investor?

One of the most important things I learned at Northwestern was to take initiative, and I bring that mentality to my work.

I started a small venture capital firm for emerging technology companies in their early stages. I’m also involved in a project to develop a curriculum about Chinese culture for international high schools in China. Many Chinese students know nothing about their culture because they are educated in an international environment. That’s a problem because you can only know other cultures well if you know your own. 

What’s next for you?

In September I went back to school as a Schwarzman Scholar [part of a highly selective global affairs master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing that aims to prepare the next generation of global leaders]. The world will become more opened up, and I’m increasingly interested in doing something globally.

One of my Northwestern engineering professors said, “As engineers, we do not need to know why, we just need to know how,” meaning engineers are supposed to figure out how to apply an equation to the real world. I think that has transferred to my career so far. I have this idea of applying my resources to deal with real problems and needs in society.

Why have you stayed involved with Northwestern?

At Northwestern I learned to contribute and give back. The first alumni event I went to in Beijing had four people. I helped re-establish the club with Nancy (Zhao ’11 MS). Now we can connect to more than a thousand alumni in Beijing, and that number is increasing. 

Your scholarship fund for the Bienen School has been bolstered by the Buffett Institute Matching Gift Challenge for International Undergraduate Scholarships. Why support students in this way?

Music is like the universal language. My dream is to bring more musical talent from China to study here and enjoy a great facility and top-level professors so they can thrive and contribute more to the world.

Learn how you can volunteer for the NAA.

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