Yung Wing

Detail of Yung Wing from a wood-engraved illustration from Harper’s Weekly, May 18, 1878 – Connecticut Historical Society

Yung Wing (1828-1912)

Educational pioneer Yung Wing worked to bridge cultural gaps between the US and China. He came to America under the sponsorship of a missionary and received his degree from Yale in 1854, making him the first Chinese student to graduate from a US university. He became a naturalized US citizen but maintained ties to China, hoping to modernize its technological infrastructure by educating its future leaders in New England. The Chinese Education Mission, which he established in Hartford in 1872, pursued this goal until deteriorating diplomatic relations led to its demise—and Yung Wing’s removal to China. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 dealt his dream a final blow. US citizenship revoked, Yung Wing returned to Hartford without legal status and died in poverty.


Yung Wing

Avon’s Educational and Cultural Pioneer

Yung Wing was the first Chinese student to graduate from a university in the United States. …[more]

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National Archives - Our Documents. “Chinese Exclusion Act (1882),” 2013. Link.
Connecticut Historical Society. “Portrait of Yung Wing,” 2015. Link.
Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation. “Yung Wing (1828 – 1912),” 2013. Link.


“Connecticut Museum of Culture and History,” 2017. Link.


Connecticut Historical Society. “Guide to the Phyllis Kihn Research Collection, Chinese Educational Mission,” 2012.
Yale University Library. “Guide to the Yung Wing Papers,” 2012. Link.
Connecticut Digital Archive. “Yung Wing Collection,” n.d. Link.


Yung Wing. My Life in China and America. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, 1909. Link.
Railton, Ben. The Chinese Exclusion Act: What It Can Teach Us About America. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.