Rob Cheng's Blog

In addition to all of his other accomplishments, the University of Southern California decided to grant my grandfather an additional honorary degree. Below is the summary of his commencement. The commencement happened when I was only 8 years old. When reading this, the amount of respect the writer showed toward my grandfather is tremendous. Over the years, people have written things about me, but nothing like this.

It is a little hard to read, so I transcribed the entire text here.

Theodore Hsi-En Chen – Doctor of Laws

Theodore Hsi-en Chen was born in Fukien, China. The son of a college teacher of English, he received his early education in China and taught at the Anglo Chinese College in Foochow and at Fukien Christian University where he served as Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Education until 1937. After graduate work at Columbia University, he came to USC to complete the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1939. He remained to become Professor and Chairman of Asian Studies. An authority on higher education in both the United States and China, he was on leave from the University to serve as President of Fukien Christian University during the turbulent period immediately before the Communist conquest of China. In 1954, he helped organize Tunghai University in Taiwan. More recently, with the help of a grant from the Carnegie Corporation, he pioneered in the introduction of Chinese and Japanese languages into the curriculum of the public schools of Los Angeles and neighboring cities. Professor Chen has won national recognition as an authority on Communist China and has been commissioned to make research studies for various branches of the United States government. He is the author of numerous books and articles.

His book, Thought Reform of the Chinese Intellectuals, is recognized as a major contribution to the understanding of his field. At home in both Chinese and American cultures, and he has played a significant role in interpreting the culture and problems of contemporary China and East Asia to Americans. The University takes pride in honoring a distinguished alumnus who has served it steadfastly by enriching its faculty for nearly three decades.

One thought on “USC Honorary Law Degree

  1. Hi Rob,
    I am working an a newsletter article about the founding members of the Delta Phi Kappa Asian American sorority at USC in 1960. Your grandmother is listed as the faculty sponsor for the Deltas and I wanted to find out if you have any other information about your mother’s participation and founding of the sorority. I have a couple of photos I can send you that might help.

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