Sac State’s new Provost Ching-Hua Wang: A study in resilience
Dr. Ching-Hua Wang is at the top of her profession as Sacramento State’s new provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, marking the latest step in a remarkable journey for a “person who would not give up hope.”
As a teenager, Wang was a member of China’s “sent-down generation,” 17 million youths torn from their families during that country’s Cultural Revolution. Communist leader Mao Tse-tung had ordered schools to close and “intellectual youth” to be sent away to perform hard labor in far-flung locales – in Wang’s case, working in the fields in Inner Mongolia.
“That’s where I developed into a very resilient person,” she says. “None of us (knew) whether there would ever be schools opening up or not. However, in my heart of hearts, I wasn’t ready to quit studying.” Her persistence through those years – even after schools were reopened, she faced repeated roadblocks in pursuing an education – and in subsequent decades led to a medical degree from Beijing Medical College and a doctorate in immunology from Cornell University, not to mention a career in higher-education leadership.
As a result of her dramatic life story, she says, “I really am a student-centered person through and through.”