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Dorra Tang-Letterwinners Giving Back

Dorra Tang (Sun Devil Women’s Swimming 1993-1997) and her cousin Rodney Hu recently established the Hu-Tang Trust Endowment Fund. Associate Director of Sun Devil Letterwinners, Kevin Miniefield, sat down and asked Dorra some questions about her experience as a student-athlete and why she gives back to Sun Devil Athletics. 

Why did you, and what motivated you (and your family), to create an endowment? Being a Sun Devil is much more than the time spent as a student or the degree earned. My cousin and I have been blessed to have found success in business, especially Rodney with multiple entrepreneurial ventures. We have fond memories of attending ASU football, basketball, & baseball games as well as spending a lot of time on the pool deck as children. It’s fitting that we can come full circle to support Sun Devil athletes and help them to excel and compete on a national level. 

Why do you think it is important to support student-athletes and Sun Devil Athletics? There are so many student-athletes like myself who benefited from scholarships and endowment opportunities. Some folks may not know that there are student-athletes who walk onto a team or have a partial scholarship. I was lucky to have earned a partial scholarship which covered books and then I worked my tail off to increase my scholarship to 75% in my senior year which covered tuition, books and a small dining stipend. On top of educational funding, funds can be allocated towards program or facility improvements to help recruit top talent. 

Where did you live prior to attending ASU? Both Rodney and I are first generation Chinese Americans born in the US. Our parents immigrated from Hong Kong to Arizona in the late 60’s. It’s hard to believe that we’re both raised in Tempe, AZ and still live/do business in this town. 

What was the biggest transitional issue you faced when you started college? My biggest transitional issue was coming from an all-girls Catholic high school to a large Co-Ed University. Distraction is an understatement. I am thankful that I was on the women’s swim team as I felt protected and part of an immediate family who looked out for me.  

Did you have any pre-competition rituals (same food, music, etc.) or bizarre superstitions during your playing days? I have a funny story about my eating rituals before swim meets. From as long as I can remember I needed to have a hearty breakfast in order to swim well. My favorite pre-meet food is a ham Croissanwich. I got so superstitious about needing to fuel up that I could not swim well unless I had one. When we went to Austin, TX for a big meet, I asked my coach if we could stop and get one on the way to the pool. We didn’t have time and I had low energy all morning. I was determined to make my National cut in the 50 free and was signed up for a time trial in between prelims and finals. I begged the coach to let me get a Croissanwich and he finally gave in and had the assistant coach drive me to get one. Well….it worked! I not only swam my personal best time, but qualified for Nationals. It was worth it!

What are you most proud of during your time at ASU? I walked onto the ASU swimming team as a freshman amongst 22 other freshman girls. Through attrition, or injury, I ended up being the sole senior on the team. It was by default, but also a giant honor that I was named captain of the women’s team in 1997.

What was your major and are you working in that field today? My major was Zoology and I landed in Private Wealth Management with an Investment Advisory Firm.  

What did you learn at ASU that has served you well throughout your life? ASU taught me so much about hard work and resilience both in the classroom and in the pool. Nothing in life is handed to you. Just like when I raced against the clock, it is the ultimate equalizer. The clock won’t slow down or speed up, I am the only one who can control the outcome. So I do the work and hope my impact will make a difference not only within my respective company, but my community.

What advice would you give yourself looking back? I would tell myself to not be afraid of advocating for myself. If I possessed the confidence that I had now, I may have had a full ride scholarship all four (4) years. However, having to struggle and fight for a spot on the team made me humble and hungry like our football coaches always remind the players.

What does it mean to you to be a Sun Devil? Being a Sun Devil means you put forth your best effort every single day. You may think your impact is small as one (1) person, but when you are part of a team with a purpose, every member matters.

If you could have dinner with any Sun Devil student-athlete/coach/staff member from the past or present, who would it be and why? This is a tough one - my personal hero who I would have loved to have met is the namesake to our aquatics complex, Mona Plummer. A couple of years ago, I had the privilege to welcome back the amazing women who swam under Mona’s tenure as she achieved what no other coach in ASU history has done; and that is securing 8 National Championships. I would have loved to see what my potential could have been during her era.

Click below to join Dorra and Rodney in their support of Sun Devil Athletics.

The Sun Devil Club would like to thank Dorra for her continued support of Sun Devil Athletics. For more information on ways to get involved with the Sun Devil Club, please contact us by email at sundevilclub@asu.com or by phone at (480) 727-7700.