Passing of a colleague at Bard

Dear Members of the MCLC Community,

It is with deep sadness that I write on behalf of the Asian Studies Program at Bard College to share the news of the passing of our esteemed colleague, Li-hua Ying, after a long battle with cancer. Li-hua was a gifted literary scholar, a masterful teacher, and a talented calligrapher. She founded and developed the Chinese Studies Program at Bard and was a cornerstone of our Asian Studies community for more than three decades. Generations of students came to know China through her generous guidance, which was always seasoned with her sharp wit and wry humor. We at Bard are all mourning the loss of our longtime colleague. An excerpt from Bard President Leon Botstein’s message to the college community is pasted below. Thank you for joining us in remembering Li-hua’s life and contributions to the study and teaching of Chinese language and literature.


Rob Culp <>
Professor of History & Asian Studies, Bard College

To the Bard College Community:

It is with deep sadness and regret that I write to inform the Bard Community of the death of Li-hua Ying, our esteemed colleague, Bard’s senior faculty member of Chinese Language and Literature. She died after a long battle with cancer on January 29th with her husband and son at her side. . . .

Li-hua Ying, born in Sichuan in 1956 and raised in neighboring Yunnan, China, was a devoted and beloved teacher and scholar. She joined the faculty at Bard in 1990 and taught continuously until her recent illness. She mentored students, built the Chinese language program from the ground up, and made key contributions to the Asian Studies and Literature programs. Before Li-hua’s appointment, a Chinese language program at Bard did not exist; her tireless dedication and pedagogical talent enabled a notoriously difficult language to be learned and mastered by undergraduates at Bard. To her colleagues she was the very “backbone of Asian Studies at Bard.” For her contributions, Li-hua Ying was awarded the Michèle Dominy Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2021.

Li-hua ensured that Bard students studying Chinese had the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in Chinese language and culture. She established and directed the Bard Summer Intensive Chinese Program in China. She personally led groups of students, every summer, for more than two decades, in a two-month immersion program at Qingdao University. And in addition to founding a new area of study, Li-hua made valuable contributions to the curriculum in the Arts and Gender Studies. She was instrumental in helping the Bard Conservatory of Music build its significant relationships with China.

Li-hua received her B.A. from Yunnan Normal University, China and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin. Among her publications are “Negotiating with the Past: The Art of Calligraphy in Post-Mao China,” “Vital Margins: Frontier Poetics and Landscape of Ethnic Identity,” and Historical Dictionary of Modern Chinese Literature. She also served for many years as the Executive Director of the American Society of Shufa Calligraphy Education, promoting the teaching of Chinese Calligraphy in the U.S.

Li-hua will be remembered by her colleagues, students, and friends for her generosity of spirit, her kindness, and her optimism. These were central to her life and her teaching. Li-hua demonstrated an exceptional commitment to Bard as an institution as well as to her students. Bard’s thriving Chinese language and literature program is a living tribute to her devotion and leadership. . . .

Li-hua Ying will be missed. The privilege to work alongside her and witness the command, calm, confidence, enthusiasm, and affection Li-hua exhibited in her work and life was, for me, a singular gift and honor.

Leon Botstein
Bard College

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