Dr. Sun Yat-Sen
Dr. Sun Yat Sen (1866 - 1925) is known as the Father of Modern China. He was born in Choy Hang Village, Chun Shan District, Kwangtung Province (now Guangdong Province).
He is also 'Iolani's most famous alumnus, known as Tai Cheong or Tai Chu when he enrolled at 'Iolani as a boarding student at age 13 in 1879 then later graduated in 1882. When he first came to Hawaii, he spoke no English. His teacher Solomon Meheula asked him to first observe classes for ten days. But Tai Cheog was a fast learner. When he graduated from 'Iolani, he won an award in grammar that was presented by King Kalakaua. After 'Iolani, he attended Punahou School for one semester in 1883 before returning to China. His travels eventually brought him back to Hawaii five more times.
The early years at 'Iolani had an important influence on Dr. Sun. He has said that his ideas came from three main sources: "Chinese traditional culture, Western ideas, and his own thoughts; but that Western ideas prevailed."
"During his years at 'Iolani and Punahou, he was exposed to Western culture, was strongly influenced by it, and in his young mind, the seeds of Western democracy were planted," according to the book Sun Yat-Sen in Hawaii, Activities and Supporters.
While at 'Iolani, Dr. Sun met classmate Chung Kun Ai, who would become one of his lifelong friends and supporters.
Another one of Dr. Sun's trusted allies was Chang Chau who attended 'Iolani in the late 1870s.