Obituary: Richard Yang, professor emeritus, 93

Richard Yang, professor emeritus of East Asian languages and cultures in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, died Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. He was 93.


Born in Shensi, China, in 1924, Yang earned a bachelor’s degree from the National Central University in Nanking in 1946; a master’s degree from the University of Oregon in Eugene in 1954; and a doctorate from the New School for Social Research in New York in 1964, all in political science.  He became an American citizen the following year.

Yang taught at Yale University and the University of Colorado before joining the Washington University faculty in 1964. He was appointed full professor in 1977 and emeritus professor in 1988. From 1977-79, he served as president of the American Association for Chinese Studies. The university recently established The Stanley Spector and Richard Yang Undergraduate Student Awards, which support travel for undergraduates interested in deepening their understanding of East Asian languages and cultures.

Yang was author and editor of several books, including “Arthur H. Vandenberg and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1966), “The Chinese World” (1978), “The World of Asia” (1979), “Chinese Regionalism: The Security Dimension” (1994) and “China’s Military in Transition” (with David L. Shambaugh, 1997).

Yang is survived by his four children, Nigel, Wei-Li, Hwai-Li and Nien-Li; and by five grandchildren: Jeffrey Cameron, Jennifer, Madison and Sofie.

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