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Spotlights

Congratulations to NTU Alumnus Prof. Cho-Yun Hsu on winning the Tang Prize in Sinology

Date: 2024/6/19

Image1:Congratulations to Prof. Cho-Yun Hsu on winning the Tang Prize in Sinology.Image2:An impressive collection of Prof. Hsu’s body of work at NTU Library.

Congratulations to Prof. Cho-Yun Hsu on winning the Tang Prize in Sinology.

An impressive collection of Prof. Hsu’s body of work at NTU Library.

On June 20, NTU Distinguished Alumni, Academician, and the eminent historian—Prof. Cho-Yun Hsu was awarded the prestigious sixth Tang Prize in Synology. This world-class honor is highly regarded in the academic circle. NTU and its members are filled with joy and pride as Prof. Hsu stood out among many distinguished scholars to win this prize. Despite enduring considerable physical challenges, Prof. Hsu made remarkable advancements in his field. With a profound erudition and understanding of both the East and West, Prof. Hsu is also committed to passing down his torch, mentoring students from around the world. His unwavering dedication to academic excellence, consciousness as an intellect, and awareness of societal issues are all deeply admirable.

Upon learning of his awarded, Prof. Hsu expressed gratitude to the Tang Prize Selection Committee for the recognition and support. He also attributed NTU as the foundation for shaping his knowledge and personhood. NTU was his gateway to the academic world and offered him guidance every step of the way; for that, he was forever grateful. Prof. Hsu viewed the NTU motto, “Integrity, Diligence, Fidelity, and Compassion,” excerpted from late President Ssu-Nien Fu’s speech, as the spiritual axiom that guided him throughout his studies and professional career.

In reflection on his NTU days, Prof. Hsu said: “My fate was intertwined with NTU. It was because of the education I received at NTU that I was i to study and achieve as I have now.” He was admitted to NTU in 1949. After spending his freshman year at the Department of Foreign Languages, he transferred to the Department of History, where he graduated in 1953 with a bachelor's degree. Under the Program of History, Grade Institute of Liberal Arts (now the Graduate Institute of History). Hsu demonstrated immense potential for historical investigation and was encouraged to change his major from foreign literature to history. That proved to be a perfect choice and enabled Hsu to excel in the study of history.

After Hsu graduated, then NTU President Shih-Liang Chieng and Dr. Shih Hu had such fondness and appreciation for Hsu’s talent that they exerted tremendous effort and sought connections to help Hsu secure a scholarship established by Chinese expatriate Mr. Xu. With that grant, Hsu managed to pursue doctoral study at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, where he obtained a Doctor of Liberal Arts degree in 1962. Later, Hsu began serving as a faculty member at NTU’s Department of History. This story is an embodiment of NTU’s long-term tradition of talent nourishment and cultivation, as Prof. Hsu broadened his vision overseas with the help of his mentors and returned to guide more students of future generations, completing a virtuous cycle.

After Prof. Hsu returned to teach at NTU, he acted as the Dean of NTU’s Department of History from 1965 to 1970. During this period, he led the transformation of the department’s curriculum by introducing the latest ideas and methods of historical study from abroad. He strongly advocated for the adoption of methods from other social sciences, such as psychology, social anthropology, and sociology. He emphasized that history should not only be "descriptive" but also "interpretative," a view that is highly regarded and had a profound impact among historians in Taiwan. Even though Prof. Hsu began teaching at the University of Pittsburgh's Department of History after 1970, he did return to NTU multiple times as a visiting chair professor from 1984 to 1987 and again in 2006, delivering lectures that allowed young students to experience his mastery firsthand. His visits were highly inspirational and enlightening, greatly benefiting the students.

Profound verbal teachings and exemplary actions by NTU teachers were deeply engraved in Prof. Hsu’s heart. When winning the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2017, Prof. Hsu iterated how much the guidance from teachers affected him as a student and later as a researcher. During his education at NTU, esteemed figures such as Professors Chi Li, Shun-Sheng Ling, Zong-Tong Li, Gang-Bo Shen, and Academician Gan Lao provided him with essential research tools as well as the ability to observe and think critically. Looking back at his career, almost every segment and work originated from his interactions with NTU teachers, who inspired Prof. Hsu to dive into academic research and conveyed fundamental knowledge and mindset for Hsu to succeed.

In terms of personal conduct, Prof. Hsu looked up to two NTU Presidents during his study: Shih-Nien Fu and Shih-Liang Chieng. He recalled how President Fu fearlessly confronted authority and never gave in to blind consensus; on the other hand, he was moved by President Chieng’s upholding of the principle of academic freedom and scholar’s dignity. These are the role models that he has throughout his life.

In 2024, NTU established “Ying-Shih Yu International Center” in memory of sinology giant Prof. Ying-Shih Yu to increase its presence in the sinology world. Prof. Ying-Shih Yu also won the first Tang Prize in Sinology. By following his predecessor to win this prize again, Prof. Hsu puts NTU in a more advantageous position as a global sinology hub. While congratulating Prof. Hsu’s honorable achievement, NTU is committed to nourishing the most conducive environment for sinology research and fulfilling its mission of talent cultivation. Just as previous professors and forth comers helped Prof. Hsu to his eminent scholarly success, NTU will up hold this spirit by raising more promising students and inch toward the center for sinology studies.

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