WMU News

Chinese university president to receive honorary degree

Oct. 31, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- A leader in the field of Chinese language teaching will receive an honorary degree from Western Michigan University in December.

Lü Bisong, president of Beijing New Asia University, will be awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree during commencement ceremonies on Dec. 20. That action was approved Oct. 31 by the WMU Board of Trustees.

Earlier this year, the board approved the establishment of a new Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages at WMU. Its focus is offering instruction in the principal non-European languages, including Chinese.

Lü is one of the most prolific authors in the field of Chinese language teaching and has been instrumental in upgrading and strengthening the field throughout the world. He devoted most of his career to the Beijing University of Language and Culture (formerly the Beijing Language Institute), where he was a faculty member from 1964 to 1996 and president from 1982 to 1989.

That university is the largest institution in China for teaching non-native speakers of Chinese, the principal producer of Chinese language teachers for other universities and the premier place for research as well as the production of textbooks and other materials in the teaching and learning of Chinese.

After retiring from the Beijing University of Language and Culture, Lü was asked to be the president of the Beijing New Asia University, a new private institution in China.

He has been a visiting professor at Ohio State University and Stanford University, and has lectured in several countries throughout Asia and Europe. His professional activities include serving as president of the International Association for the Teaching of Chinese.

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