Professor Yu Ying-shih is one of China’s most famous historians. His family’s place of origin is Qianshan, Anhui province, and he was born in Tianjin in 1930. He was admitted to New Asia College in 1950 under the tutelage of Dr Ch'ien Mu, and in 1952 became a member of New Asia College’s first graduating class. After graduation, he went to the US to continue his studies, and became a follower of Professor Yang Lien-sheng. He received a doctoral degree from Harvard University in 1962 and seven years later was employed by the same university as a professor of Chinese History. In 1973, Professor Yu returned to CUHK to head New Asia College, and also served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University. He resumed teaching at Harvard University two years later, and is currently an honorary Professor of History and Sinology at Princeton University. Professor Yu was elected a fellow of the Academia Sinica in 1974, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the CUHK in 1977.
Professor Yu's erudition defies description and disciplinary boundaries. Although he specializes in Chinese history, he has also published extensively on Chinese philosophy, literature and art, as well as the history of the Chinese intelligentsia.
In 2006, Professor Yu was named the recipient of the John W. Kluge Prize, considered to be the Nobel in social sciences and the humanities, for his lifetime achievements in humanity studies, making him the first ethnic Chinese to be thus honoured. In commendation of Professor Yu’s contribution to the field of History, his alma mater, New Asia College, along with Chung Chi College, another constituent College of CUHK, jointly established the “Yu Ying-shih Lecture in History” in 2007.