John Holden presents a keynote lectureOn October 30, 2019, more than 250 friends and supporters of the China Center gathered at McNamara Alumni Center to celebrate the China Center’s 40-year history of building U.S.-China bridges. The evening began with a lively reception and silent auction, where guests had the opportunity to bid on 29 items ranging from Huxian peasant paintings to private dinners. Guests also enjoyed beautiful guzheng music played by Jarrelle Barton. Students from the University of Minnesota Chinese Culture Club dressed in traditional Chinese clothing visited and posed for photos with guests. 

Associate Vice President and Dean of International Programs Meredith McQuaid congratulated the China Center on its role in connecting Chinese higher education institutions with the University of Minnesota. As guests began to enjoy dinner, China Center Executive Director Joan Brzezinski outlined the China Center’s accomplishments over the past 40 years, including programs, scholarships, and significant donors. Former China Center Director David Pui also shared remarks about his time at the China Center, along with his congratulations.

University of Minnesota Alumnus Mr. John Holden delivered the keynote lecture, “Minnesota to China: A 40-Year Reflection.” One of the first UMN students to travel to China in the 1970s before China opened to the West, Mr. Holden is Senior Director for China at McLarty Associates. Since his first trip to Asia in 1972, Mr. Holden has studied or worked for a total of 25 years in Taipei, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Kyoto. Mr. Holden’s engaging lecture spanned his fascinating career in U.S.-China relations, and concluded with a message on the importance of fostering friendship between the two nations. 

The China Center thanks all who attended this special event. 


Thank you to our sponsors!



  • Alliance of Minnesota Chinese Organizations
  • American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • Boom Island Brewing Company
  • Chinese American Association of Minnesota
  • Chinese American Business Association of Minnesota
  • Chinese Heritage Foundation
  • Concordia Language Villages
  • Fredrickson & Byron
  • Legendary Spice
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Sit Investment Associates Foundation
  • Sit Investments Associates, Inc.
  • Tea House
  • Yinghua Academy

University of Minnesota

  • Carlson Global Institute
  • College of Biological Sciences
  • Global Programs and Strategy Alliance
  • Humphrey School of Public Affairs
  • Chinese Culture Club student group


  • Annelise Carlson
  • Steve & Bess Chen
  • Gao Hong
  • Jennie Hsiao
  • Joyce Hsiao
  • Justin Lipsky
  • Romi Slowiak
  • Kaimay & Joseph Terry
  • Margaret Wong & Walter Graff