May 21, 2019

Anita Andrew, Former Visiting Professor of Asian History

Anita M. Andrew, a visiting professor of Asian history at Beloit from 1987 to 1994, died unexpectedly at age 65 on Dec. 14, 2018, in Beloit, Wis.
  • Anita M. Andrew, visiting professor of Asian history at Beloit College 1987 to 1994.

An adoptive mother of two Chinese daughters, and wife of 38 years to Professor of Political Science John Rapp, Andrew was a China scholar, historian, and accomplished chef and educator.

Andrew was teaching Chinese and comparative Asian history at Northern Illinois University-Rockford (Illinois) when she passed away. Outside of academe, Andrew offered classes in Chinese cooking and language through the Families with Children from China program, volunteered at local hospitals to give presentations on adoptive nursing for adoptive mothers in their transitions, and conducted workshops to assist secondary school teachers in including information on Chinese history, language, politics, and culture in the curriculum.

After earning her Ph.D. in history from the University of Minnesota, Andrew worked on a variety of academic publications as a translator, writer, and editor. She authored many articles about China and Asian history and co-authored a book with her husband titled Autocracy and China’s Rebel Founding Emperors: Comparing Chairman Mao and Ming Taizu.

At Beloit, she was a passionate professor of Asian history. When news of her death reached alumni, many former students remembered her with online memorials, including Brenna Greer’94, now a professor of history at Wellesley College, who recalled Andrew as a powerful mentor. “If not for Anita telling me what she saw in me, making me curious, making me believe it possible, I would not have found my way to wonderful graduate programs through which I encountered great minds, ideas, and materials, realized the questions that move me, and made friendships of another level,” she wrote.

In 1995 and in 2001, the Andrew-Rapp family adopted orphaned girls in China during the peak of the country’s one-child policy. Before her passing, Andrew was working on a book manuscript, “From China’s Daughters to All-American Girls.” Her desire was to create a digital archive of American adoption agency information on the placement of Chinese children who were abandoned since the one-child policy government regulations began in 1992.

Anita Marie Andrew was born in New Haven, Conn., on Aug. 30, 1953. Among the survivors are her husband, John Rapp, and two daughters, Amy Chunyi Rapp and Laura Mingyi Rapp. The family asks that gifts in Anita’s memory be made toward scholarship funds at Beloit College and/or Northern Illinois University.


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