On April 30, 2004 the Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu Endowed Chair in Taiwan Studies was formally established at the University of California, Santa Barbara with a $500,000 gift from a number of individual donors associated with the Taiwanese American Foundation of San Diego. The benefactors said they made the gift to help position the campus as an international center for the exploration of Taiwan’s literature, history, and culture.
The professorship has been named in honor of two major twentieth-century Taiwanese literary figures, the late Lai Ho, considered the pioneer of Taiwan literature, and the late Wu Cho-liu, a writer whose work represents Taiwanese cultural, political, and social concerns. The endowment will support the teaching and research of an eminent scholar chosen to fill the position, currently filled by Professor Kuo-ch’ing Tu, an acclaimed poet, translator, and critic, and a professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies.
This endowed chair will bring increased academic distinction to the campus and further enhance the prestige of our Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “We appreciate both the dedication and the generosity of the donors.”
Ronald Egan, chair of the department at the time, said “UCSB will likely become the focal point of scholarly specialization in Taiwan studies—unequaled elsewhere in the country.” Until the 1980s, when the social and political realities of Taiwan underwent fundamental changes, Taiwan and its distinctive culture had not been common subjects of academic inquiry, Egan explained. Over the last twenty years, Taiwan-related studies have grown significantly, attracting international scholarly attention.
“As scholars increasingly approach the study of Chinese literature and culture from a global perspective, Taiwan studies becomes increasingly important,” said David Marshall, dean of humanities and fine arts in the College of Letters and Science. “This generous gift will build upon our strengths in this interdisciplinary area of study.”
Inauguration of the Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu Endowed Chair in Taiwan Studies [PDF]
By Kuo-ch'ing Tu, Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu Endowed Chair