June 28, 2009

Buddhist-Founded University of the West Inducts New President

C.F. Lee, the new President of University of the West.

Right on the heels of Naropa University’s administrative change, the also-Buddhist-founded University of the West, where I serve as Coordinator of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program, inducted a new president this week as well:  Dr. C.F. Lee, the outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong.

A press release about this exciting moment in the history of Buddhism in America is posted below. 

One interesting note: Dr. Lee delivered the Convocation Address at the International Buddhist College’s first convocation in 2008. You can read his remarks here.



Buddhist-founded campus taps top Asian academic for leadership


ROSEMEAD, California, June 24, 2009 – University of the West, a WASC accredited campus founded by the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order, inducted Dr. CF Lee as president on Wednesday, June 24, 2009.


Dr. Lee brings more than 40 years of higher education experience to his new post as president of the small Rosemead campus. He said he would focus on fund raising, maintaining accreditation and increasing enrollment from its current level of approximately 290 students.


Dr. Lee replaces Dr. Allen Huang, who is returning to his home in Colorado to spend his days in retirement.


“I am deeply humbled and honored to be named to succeed Dr. Allen Huang as president of University of the West,” Dr. Lee said during his induction ceremony Wednesday morning. “In retiring from the presidency, he will leave behind large shoes to fill.”


In his two years as president, Dr. Huang saw to an increase in enrollment, the addition of several key staff and faculty appointments, the improvement of campus facilities and classrooms with technology, and deeper research efforts into Chinese Buddhism and the Buddhist canons written in Sanskrit. His crowning achievement was the development of a nursing program proposal – the first of its kind at a Buddhist-founded university in the United States – that is up for accreditation in late June.


Prior to taking the helm of UWest, Dr. Lee served for eight years as Pro Vice Chancellor of Hong Kong University, a school named the best in school in Asia and a top 30 school in the world by the Financial Times of London earlier this year.


Dr. Lee was director of the Hong Kong University School of Professional and Continuing Education, and Chair Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at HKU.


He graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1968 and with a master’s degree in 1970. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 1972 in the field of geotechnical engineering. He taught at UWO and the University of Toronto before starting a long career with Ontario Hydro in Canada, where he worked on a number of projects providing hydro and nuclear power.



He joined the Hong Kong University faculty in 1994 as a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering.


Although he has a strong scientific background, Dr. Lee is a lifelong Buddhist who believes the Dharma has much to offer to the West.


“Buddhism brings into life an element of wisdom to live a little more happily than otherwise,” he said. “This wisdom could potentially help young students, American or otherwise, to lead a happier life.”


For volunteer and community services, he has served as the President of the Fuhui Charitable Foundation since 2003. The Foundation has donated towards the completion of some 300 schools and hospitals in the mountainous areas of Western China. It also supports about 2000 students in such areas annually through scholarships.

He is also the Chairman of the Board of the Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture; Chairman of the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee; Chairman of the Veterinary Surgeons Board; Chairman of the Council of the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust; Director of the Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole; member of the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority; and more.

He previously served on Hong Kong’s Culture and Heritage Commission and the Strategic Planning Commission. He was appointed a Hong Kong Justice-of-the Peace in 2003 and was awarded the Silver Bauhinia Star in 2005. He served as a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in 2005, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 2006.


Founded in 1991, University of the West is located at 1409 N. Walnut Grove Ave., Rosemead, CA 91770. The campus offers degrees in religious studies, business administration, psychology and English along with short-term cultural programs, certificates and ESL training. More information can be found at http://www.uwest.edu.

Contact: Jason Kosareff

Tel: 626.677.3311

[email protected]

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