Longtime Faculty Member, Associate Dean Dachang Cong Dies at 65

Dr. Dachang Cong

Dr. Dachang Cong

Dr. Dachang Cong, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and longtime UT Dallas faculty member, died on Jan. 21 at the age of 65.

Cong began his career at UT Dallas in 1991 after earning his PhD in anthropology from Yale University. He became a popular faculty member who taught courses on cultures, globalization and how digital technology has transformed cultures and economies of China, Japan and the United States.

As associate dean, Cong worked closely with the Healthcare Studies program that launched in 2012. He also directed the American Studies program. Cong received numerous teaching honors, including Distinguished Teacher in Diversity and Multicultural Education Award in 2011 and a Teaching Excellence award in 2000.

Dr. Susan Chizeck, a senior lecturer and director of the school’s internship program, said that Cong’s depth of knowledge about a range of topics and his conversational style made him an engaging teacher.

“He was a really strong scholar and a very good friend,” Chizeck said.

Cruz Deleon, a geospatial information sciences senior, took three of Cong’s courses.

“He will be remembered by me for his personality, always caring for students and making sure we succeeded in school and most importantly in life,” Deleon said. “Through his teachings, I learned that America is the land of opportunity and that through perseverance, hard work, character and humility, we can achieve our goals and dreams.”

Cong also was active in various professional organizations and served on the executive committee for the UT Dallas Confucius Institute and as an academic assessment committee member for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. He published articles in numerous academic journals and presented his research at conferences throughout the United States.

Through his teachings, I learned that America is the land of opportunity and that through perseverance, hard work, character and humility, we can achieve our goals and dreams.

Cruz Deleon,
geospatial information sciences senior

“Dachang Cong was an enthusiastic teacher and outstanding leader who was dedicated to his students,” said Dr. George Fair, vice president for diversity and community engagement and dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. “The University community is extremely saddened by his loss. Dr. Cong will be sorely missed.”

Cong was born in China in 1950 and earned his bachelor’s degree from Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an, China, in 1976 before coming to the United States. For his dissertation at Yale, Cong researched the Amish and how they grappled with modern technology.

In 1997, he published the book, When Heroes Pass Away, The Invention of a Chinese Communist Pantheon, which examined the treatment of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping and other communist leaders from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. More recently, Cong was working on a book about the globalization of China, Japan and the United States in the 21st century.

Cong taught a variety of courses over the years, including American Cultures, American Ethnic Experience, Entrepreneurs in America, Doing Business in Greater China, Managing the Digital Economy, Ethics, Law, Society and Computing; Diversity and Globalization; and Computers in Society.

Cong’s son, Yale Cong, said many have reached out to the professor’s family.

“Our family would like to thank members of the UTD community for offering their support and sharing their stories about Dr. Cong,” Yale Cong said. “It has brought comfort to us in this difficult time.”

A private memorial service was held for Cong. Memorial contributions may be directed to nonprofit organizations focused on preserving the environment and protecting endangered species.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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