The China Studies Program at the University of Washington is honored to introduce the Vincent Y.C. Shih Endowed Professorship in China Studies. The professorship was made possible by a generous gift from Bill and Bernadette Shih, who established this appointment in Vincent Y.C. Shih’s name. The Vincent Y.C. Shih Endowed Professorship reflects Professor Shih’s groundbreaking scholarship and tremendous contributions as a faculty member of the Department of Asian Languages and Literature (The Far Eastern Department) at the University of Washington.
In 1902, Vincent Shih was born in Fuzhou and attended Yin Wa College (Anglo-Chinese College) in the same province, where he majored in philosophy. He went on to graduate school at Yenching University in Beijing and, following that, was awarded a fellowship at the University of Southern California in 1936. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1939. After teaching at Yenching University for a few years, Vincent joined the University of Washington Department of Asian Languages and Literature (named the Far Eastern Department at that time). He taught at the UW from 1945 until his retirement in 1973. Afterwards, Professor and Mrs. Shih traveled extensively. He continued lecturing and she held exhibitions of her Chinese watercolor paintings. Professor Shih is well known for his translation of The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons by Liu Hsieh and The Taiping Ideology. They are recognized today as groundbreaking works in the field of China Studies.
The professorship was made possible by Bill and Bernadette Shih, who both have strong ties with the University of Washington and the city of Seattle. After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with MS and Ph.D. degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics, Bill worked in government research contracting until his retirement. Bernadette, once a student at the UW in Asian Studies, was the Chinese specialist at the MIT libraries for many years and spearheaded initiatives to exchange literature with mainland China. Additionally, she was awarded the Shakespeare Medal for Poetry by The Torrance Performing Arts Consortium and The South Bay Conservatory in 2009.
On April 19, the University of Washington China Studies Program held a reception to celebrate the inaugural granting of the Vincent Y.C. Shih Endowed Professorship in China Studies to Professor Madeleine Yue Dong. Professor Dong is the Chair of the China Studies Program in addition to holding appointments in the History Department and the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. Her work focuses on social/cultural history, urban history, and gender history in twentieth century China.