Hsiang-te Kung, director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis, is a 75th-generation descendant of Confucius.
Dr. Kung was born in China, and he grew up in Taiwan before coming to the U.S. in
1969. He received his B.S. with a geography major and geology minor from the University
of Chinese Culture and received both his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee
Since 1981, he has taught at the University of Memphis, where he served as chairman
of the geography department from 1991 until 2001, when it merged with the earth sciences
He has co-authored three books, published more than seventy-two referee articles in
the professional journals, and received more than 70 research grants. He has been
a visiting professor and lecturer in China and University of Pittsburgh, Iand the
Institute of Shipboard Education – Semester at Sea program.
His major areas of interest are Water Resources, Urban Hydrology, Urban Physical Environment,
Land-Surface System, Fluvial Geomorphology, Landform and Terrain Analysis, and Asia/China.
He was nominated for the distinguished teaching service award four times and received
awards for Superior Performance in University Research (SPUR) for Outstanding Research
Activities twice and the College of Arts and Sciences Meritorious Award. Most recently,
Dr. Kung was named as one of the top 6 Confucius Institute directors in the United
States and one of the top 30 Confucius Institutes in the world. Under his leadership,
the CIUM has flourished garnering numerous awards incluing being selected as one of
the top 6 Confucius Institutes in the United States and one of the top 30 Confucius
Institutes in the world in 2010 and 2012.
Dr. Kung worked in city planning for Knox County, and his past research has included
an examination of potential flooding in Hong Kong due to the effects of global warming.