WSU Lecture to Explore History of Chinese Immigrants

OGDEN, Utah – The stories of two Chinese immigrant families will be explored at WSU as part of the Weber Historical Society Lecture Series, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Hurst Center Dumke Legacy Hall.

Gayle and Sharon (Wong) White will give a presentation, “Chinese in Ogden: A Personal Family Story,” detailing the journey of Sharon’s family as they left China and immigrated to the United States where they eventually became citizens.

“Knowledge of our history and culture is a valuable part of preparing for our personal and community’s future,” Gayle said. “We both thought it was important to research the history of Chinese immigrants, and our families’ individual experiences becoming Americans.”

The Whites began researching their family history when they realized much of it would be lost with the passing of first-generation family members. Their research has taken them to the National Archives, San Francisco and China three times.

“Through research, I have gained knowledge of my family’s Chinese heritage and their experiences,” Sharon said. “I hope by sharing my family story, people will learn a little about Chinese history, the human experiences coming to America and life in the U.S. as a Chinese American.”

Sharon’s grandparents, the Wongs and the Louies, came to the United States in the late 1800s, during the Chinese Exclusion Act era. Sharon’s parents, Phil Wong and Elva Louie, were married in San Francisco before arriving in Utah in the 1930s. They made their home in Ogden and started businesses on 25th street and in Roy, Utah.

Sharon graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social science from Weber State University in 1969. She spends her time volunteering and researching family history.

Gayle White served in the Air Force and was sent to Hill AFB in the 1960s. While in Utah, he met Sharon and they were married. After retiring from the Air Force, he joined the aerospace industry, started his own company, Colorado Aerospace Consultants, and began helping Sharon research family history.

The free presentation is sponsored by the WSU Alumni Association, the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, the Department of History, Stewart Library and the Weber Historical Society.

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Eric Swedin, WSU history professor
801-626-6692 •


Shaylee Stevens, Office of Marketing & Communications
801-626-7948 •