"We should all go back to Harding"

from China to Arkansas 

In August, 2011 alumni Chen Fang (Aaron), Pan Changzhi (Vince), Hu Zhen (Willis) and Liang Haifeng (Donald) learned that their friends Lin Minghui (Will) and Huang Guofeng (Ty) were planning to visit from China. On a whim, one said, “We should all go back to Harding.” But it sounded like such a great idea that they all spontaneously decided to fly to Arkansas and spend a few days at their alma mater. They found campus had grown in the last decade, but it still felt like home. They met with faculty mentors they now call friends and enjoyed sharing stories and memories from their college days. We were privileged to sit down with them for a few hours and learn what they’re doing now and how Harding has contributed to their success in business, friendship and life. 


Chen Fang (Aaron) (’11)
Bachelor’s degree in international business and accounting
President of Precision Tool & Plastics

How did you learn about Harding?

I grew up in the Hunan Province in China. My school had a communication program with one year of college in China and three years at Harding, but I stayed at Harding for four years because I added a second major. 

Describe your Harding experience.

I chose Harding because I heard it was a very safe city and a safe campus. I was a 17-year-old student coming to study abroad, and my English was not very good. This is a quiet campus, so I could really focus on my studies. I also enjoyed my time visiting a lot of other cities to see the diversity of American life. It was a very beneficial experience. I graduated 12 years ago, and I know a lot of people from different schools in big cities, but they don’t compare to right here.

What is it like to be back on campus with your friends?

This is the place where we got to know each other. It’s very, very meaningful. When we arrived, my first impression was that it is much bigger. There are a lot more buildings, but it’s still very pretty. Being here makes us feel calm and quiet. Every day we’re in business, and we work sometimes 12 hours a day. Life is very busy, but I feel very quiet here. I have time to think about things I don’t always reflect on. 

I also met with my college advisor, Dr. Phil Brown, yesterday afternoon. He’s always been very helpful both when I was a student and after I graduated. We connected on LinkedIn, and we met some of his students, too. A lot of them work at Walmart or other places in Northwest Arkansas, and I spend a lot of time there with my factory. For me, Harding is about meaningful relationships. 

How have you been successful in business after graduating from Harding? 

For the past 12 years I have worked my way up in the company and have created a lot of new factories and added new business up to $100 million. We work with companies like Walmart, Target and Macy’s. I feel proud that I’ve built a new company using American accounting principles and knowledge of financial structures I learned here at Harding.

Tell us about your community and how you’re involved in giving back. 

I have lived in Los Angeles since I graduated. Even though I didn’t get baptized while I was at Harding, I did a few months later. I joined a church in LA more than 10 years ago, and what I learned there spiritually guides our family life. I have two daughters together with my wife. We give a lot of donations to the church and also donate to the local people in my hometown in China. We want to help whoever needs our help.



Pan Changzhi (Vince) (’11)
Bachelor’s degree in finance and economics 
President of Cecelia Tech, Founder of Lucci Lu Inc. 

How did you learn about Harding?

The first thing I heard about Harding was at high school graduation when everybody was trying to figure out what college to go to. My first question was where to go: China, the U.S., or the United Kingdom. Guangdong University of Foreign Studies was at that time one of the best language colleges in China. They had a program working together with schools in the U.K., Australia, and the U.S. I’m a basketball fan, so, of course, I decided to go to the U.S. That program brought me to Harding, and I am still very grateful. 

What was next for you after graduation? 

My first business was a fashion company selling formal wear wholesale — bridal dresses, high school prom, graduation, all of that — until 2020. When the pandemic hit, everything stopped. Of course the first thing we all worried about was our families and friends. We started checking on everyone and seeing how they were doing. We wondered what the impact was in China.

All of a sudden, everyone was looking for personal protective equipment like masks, wipes and hand sanitizer. I started catching up with all my dear friends in China. We’re all in different jobs: importing, sales, management, manufacturing. We said, “We have to step up to help.” In the U.S. there was a big shortage of masks, so we called Will and Ty in China to help us source all the materials and move the masks and wipes to the U.S. 

That’s how we got started in March 2020 with just a few friends. We did more than $140 million of business in eight months and distributed more than 10 billion masks within one year. In addition to selling to general consumers, we worked with state and federal governments and the Department of Defense. We also donated containers of goods in Asia where communities really needed PPE in 2021 and 2022. 

Overall, this is great success for a company that really started from a couple of friends who met in college, but we were really thankful that we were able to help so many people get what they needed.

What’s your favorite memory from Harding? 

There are too many. I remember so much laughter. But the biggest thing to me is that Harding really has a lot of great resources. When I was a student, George W. Bush came here to speak, and that was amazing to me. Also, Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A came to speak, and I remember him talking about why Chick-fil-A isn’t open on Sunday. That was important for me to think about my life and my business. As a national chain they could be making so much more money by being open on Sunday, but they aren’t because of what they believe. These people are so different, and the kind of impact they have in business is still affecting me today. 

What role does faith play in your business? 

At Harding, I learned the fundamentals and knowledge I needed in finance and economics. If you don’t know those fundamentals, you aren’t going to succeed. But that’s not the key to success. It’s really your mentality, and Harding is very different. If I had gone to any school in LA or New York, I think I would be a totally different person now. It’s about having strong fundamentals, having faith and believing what you’re doing is important. I might be bankrupt already if I didn’t have a strong faith. My managers and coworkers would say that I’m a very mentally strong person, and that’s how I succeed. I have faced a lot of challenges and failed many times in business, but we overcome the difficulties, we have faith and we keep going. So I think that’s the key.

What’s it like to be back on campus this week with these friends? 

If I had to use just one word, it would be “amazing.” Lots of memories are popping back up. I sometimes think I don’t really remember anything that happened, but when we got back here, we knew where to go, and we ran into professors and other people we know. I think it’s amazing. I really appreciate Will and Ty for coming all the way from China to visit. It started as a joke, like “Hey, we should go back to Harding,” and then, we did. It’s been great to have so many memories and so much joy. 


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