Yale University has had a longer and deeper relationship with China than any other university in the United States. Its ties to China date to 1835 when Yale graduate Peter Parker opened China’s first Western style hospital, the Ophthalmic Infirmary, in Guangzhou. In addition to his pioneering work as a physician, Parker was one of the first Yale graduates to chronicle daily life in China. His papers and medical illustrations, now housed in the Yale Medical Library, sparked the interest of Yale’s students and faculty in China.
Over the next 100 years, the relationship strengthened. In 1854, Yung Wing (1828-1912) graduated from Yale College and became the first person from China to earn a degree from an American college or university. His subsequent gift of a substantial portion of his personal library forms the nucleus of Yale’s East Asia Library’s Chinese collection, which has grown to over 445,000 volumes and is considered one of the major collections in the United States. In 1878, the study of China became part of the Yale curriculum when Samuel Wells Williams, a former American missionary and diplomat in China, was appointed to teach. For this reason, Yale has been credited as the first American institutions to offer courses in Chinese.
In 1901, a group of Yale faculty and alumni launch the Yale-China Association, a private, non-profit organization based on the Yale campus, dedicated to the education in and about China. Sixty years later, the Council of East Asian Studies at Yale University (CEAS) was founded to facilitate the training of undergraduate and graduate students, and to foster outstanding education, research and intellectual exchange about East Asia. The interdisciplinary hub offers courses, degrees, fellowships, study abroad opportunities, and more.
Today, over 600 Chinese students and schools are at Yale. Since China initiated its “open door policy” in the late 1970s, academic exchanges and collaborations between Yale and China have expanded rapidly in many fields. Chinese students and scholars represent, by far, the largest complement of any foreign country in residence at Yale.
The partnership between Yale and China has extended to educational and exchange programs on campus and in China, such as The Richard U. Light Fellowship, the Peking University-Yale Distinguished Graduate Student Scholarly Exchange Program, and the Bulldogs Internship Program in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. The Yale Law School has a China Center and the School of Management is inaugurating a Yale Leadership Center in Beijing in 2014.
There are over 100 separate research projects in a wide range of disciplines that are focused on China or involve partnerships between the Yale faculty and their colleagues in Chinese universities, governmental agencies, and independent research institutions.
1854 – Yung Wing graduates from Yale College and becomes the first person from China to earn a degree from an American college or university. His subsequent gift of a substantial portion of his personal library forms the nucleus of Yale’s East Asia Library’s Chinese collection, one of the major collections in the United States.
1878 – With the appointment of Samuel Wells Williams, a former American missionary and diplomat in China, the study of China becomes part of the Yale curriculum.
1901 – A group of Yale faculty and alumni launch the Yale-China Association, a private, non-profit organization based on the Yale campus, dedicated to the education in and about China and to the furtherance of mutual understanding and knowledge between the Chinese and the American people.
1936 – Yale pioneers a new program for Chinese language instruction and begins to develop innovative Chinese textbooks.
1990 – Yale University Press, in collaboration with China International Publishing Group, launches an awarding series of books, “The Culture and Civilization of China.” To date, nine volumes have been published: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting (1997), Chinese Architecture (2002), Key Concepts in Chinese Philosophy (2002), Balanced Discourses (2003), The Formation of Chinese Civilization (2005), Chinese Sculpture (2006), Chinese Calligraphy (2008), Chinese Ceramics (2010), and Chinese Silks (2012).
2006 – As one of only three stops during his historic trip to the United States, President Hu Jintao visits Yale, and gives the first speech by a Chinese head-of-state ever to be broadcast live in China.
2007 – A group of 100 Yale students, faculty, and staff visit China in response to President Hu’s personal invitation and are given a ten-day official tour of China.
2008 – The Yale School of Music and Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music host “Musicathalon: A Cultural Prelude to the Olympics,” a series of concerts, lectures, and master classes and the School of Management sponsors the “Yale Global Business Leadership Program at the Olympic Games.”
2009 – During her visit in April 2009, Chinese State Councilor Madam Liu Yandong invited fifty Yale graduate students to visit China.
2013 – Encounters, a groundbreaking Chinese language program that features a dramatic series filmed entirely in China, was officially launched. The program’s highly communicative approach immerses learners in the Chinese language and culture through video episodes that correspond to units in the combination textbook-workbook. By combining a compelling story line with a wealth of educational materials, Encounters weaves a tapestry of Chinese language and culture rich in teaching and learning opportunities.
For a more comprehensive timeline, click here.
Fudan-Yale Biomedical Research Center provides a locus for cutting-edge international research in the field of genetics and molecular medicine. Researchers at Yale and Fudan work collaboratively, achieving a “multiplier effect” of what could be accomplished in only one facility. The first research emanating from China to be featured on the cover of Cell (August 2005) was from the joint Fudan-Yale lab.
Peking-Yale Joint Center for Plant Molecular Genetics and Agro-biotechnology sponsors research concentrated in the field of basic biology in model plant systems and on the application of this basic research to crop improvement.
Peking-Yale Joint Center for Microelectronics and Nanotechnology supports a multidisciplinary research program in which independent research groups work within a common facility, and share resources and expertise.
University of Science and Technology of China (USTC)-Yale Joint Research Center on High-Confidence Software works to devise cutting-edge technologies and tools that will dramatically improve the dependability of today’s computer software.
Yale- Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) Biostatistics Center conduct cutting-edge translational medicine research and train future leaders in the field.