Yung Wing Portrait Unveiled by Chinese Consul General at Yale Ceremony

A portrait of Yale graduate Yung Wing, Class of 1854, the first person from China to have graduated from an American university, was unveiled Friday afternoon at a ceremony hosted by Yale President Richard C. Levin and attended by Zhang Hongxi, Consul General of China.

The portrait of Yung Wing by Judith Reeve is based on a lithograph of Yung in his Yale class book. It was commissioned by the Yale-China Association with generous contributions from members of the Yung family, United Technologies Corp., and other interested individuals.

Yung Wing was born in 1828 in a small village in Guangdong province. He received his early education in a missionary school in Macao under the tutelage of a Yale graduate, the Rev. Samuel Robbins Brown. Yung accompanied Brown to the United States in 1847, where he enrolled in the Monson Academy and later at Yale College.

After his return to China, Yung Wing engaged in various projects to promote China’s modernization, most notably the sending of Chinese students to the United States for advanced education. He is best known for having organized the Chinese Educational Mission, which brought 120 young Chinese students to schools and colleges in Massachusetts and Connecticut, including Yale, in the 1870s. Many of these students went on to play important roles in China’s development in the decades that followed.

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