Citation for Pauline Yu

Presented by Sarah M. Strong, Professor of Japanese

President Hansen, I am honored to present Pauline Yu.

Our humanity rests on our knowledge of each other and the world, and the transmission of that understanding to future generations. Today we honor a scholar whose work has brought us the great literatures of humanity and whose leadership among scholars guides and safeguards the transmission of knowledge.

Pauline Yu travels in two distinct worlds. As an eminent scholar of early Chinese literature, her work has given English speakers a more nuanced understanding of the great canon of Chinese poetry, its meanings and its enduring values. As president of the American Council of Learned Societies, Dr. Yu presides over a confederation of national scholarly organizations dedicated to advancing the humanities and social sciences. Navigating both of these spheres requires great sensitivity to texts, respect for and deep knowledge of the traditions of human thought, meticulously high standards of excellence, and a deep commitment to sharing ideas with others.

Pauline Yu is an ardent champion of liberal education, which inspires the imagination, cultivates creativity, strengthens analytical thinking and helps us contribute to the world. A clear voice for the essential role of humanities in liberal education, she urges us to be thoughtful, curious, disciplined. She reminds us of the profound responsibility the humanities scholar holds toward the legacy of human culture, a legacy that tells us who we are.

For her insightful studies of Chinese literature and her belief that understanding cultures makes the world a safer and better place, I present Pauline Yu for the degree Doctor of Letters.

President’s conferral:

Pauline Yu, by your own example as a teacher, scholar and thinker, you remind us of the vital connections we make with each other through knowledge and learning. Therefore by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees, I hereby confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Letters, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities which here and everywhere pertain to this degree.