Thank You, Chancellor Yu!

Smiling Chancellor Yu walks up NYU Shanghai auditorium steps.

On June 1, 2020, NYU Shanghai’s founding chancellor Yu Lizhong stepped down after leading our university through eight transformative years. “This is a time that needs people and institutions that value inclusiveness, that can bring diverse people together to recognize differences, but focus on shared values and goals to build a solid and peaceful future,” Yu says. Here, we look back fondly on the road that Chancellor Yu and NYU Shanghai have traveled together. Come “home” often, Chancellor Yu! You will be greatly missed. 


Sexton and Yu clasp hands surrounded by students waving NYU and ECNU flags


FOUNDING  Celebrating NYU Shanghai’s ground-breaking with John Sexton, then-president of New York University. “Li is one of those rare human beings who are centered in virtue and great values,” Sexton says. “He had a great vision for education and for the world, one of a humankind that was united for the progress of all. And it was clear that he had the courage to pursue that vision.”


Yu and student wave colorful fans


EXPLORING  Joining the festivities  at the annual Cultural Expo. Years later, NYU Shanghai graduates say they still remember Chancellor Yu’s question for them when they first visited campus: “Are you ready to take a different path that has more risk but also more unexpected opportunities?”


Student shows YU inner workings of robotic prototype


INSPIRING  Checking out a student-developed prototype in the Interactive Media Arts lab.  “Chancellor Yu’s leadership has enabled NYU Shanghai to blossom into a vibrant success, with award-winning faculty and students, research centers and curricular innovations that benefit the entire NYU ecosystem,” said current NYU President Andrew Hamilton.


Yu shakes hands with young international student carrying luggage


WELCOMING  During his tenure, Chancellor Yu did not miss a single First Year Move-in Day, arriving early in the morning to greet the newest members of the NYU Shanghai community and help them with their luggage. “He is probably one of the most approachable chancellors a school can have,” said Tim Wu Guangyu ’20.


Yu uses cell phone to take photo of students at convocation


CONNECTING Yu was the first university president in China to open a Weibo account. Today, he has 1.7 million followers. He was known to accept friend requests from all students. “Through social media, I can speak directly to students, and know their concerns wherever they are,” he says. “I realized that most students just wanted a sincere response.”


Yu, wearing hardhat, talks with construction worker at Qiantan campus building site


BUILDING   Visiting the site of NYU Shanghai’s new 115,000-square-meter campus, slated to open in Fall 2022. “NYU Shanghai’s value and significance have only become stronger since its establishment. Its spirit of exploration, reform, and innovation has taken root here,” Yu said.