Founded in 1922, the United Board's work in its first three decades focused on 13 Christian colleges and universities in China: Fukien Christian University, Ginling College, Hangchow University, Huachung University, Hwa Nan College, Lingnan University, Nanking University, St. John’s University, University of Shanghai, Shantung Christian University, Soochow University, West China Union University, and Yenching University.
The United Board took its name from the union of the governing boards of these institutions, which recognized the benefits of combining their efforts to create and sustain higher education institutions. United Board support came in the form of raising funds and coordinating their use to support capital construction, library collections, student scholarships and other critical educational functions, including sponsoring visiting American faculty and staff.

The United Board suspended its work in China in 1951 and shifted its efforts to other places, becoming the largest single source of funding support of Tunghai University in Taiwan and providing major support to Chung Chi College in Hong Kong in its early years. Elsewhere in Asia, the United Board provided critical assistance to International Christian University in Japan, Yonsei University in Korea, and Silliman University in the Philippines. Later decades brought expansion of the United Board’s work to additional institutions in Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. The United Board was formally invited to return to mainland China in 1980, and has provided extensive support there for faculty development, new academic disciplines, and programs to improve teaching and learning.

Today our network continues to thrive and grow. In recent years, we have worked with more than 80 institutions of higher education, from 15 countries and regions, providing scholarships, fellowships, training, professional development, project grants, and general support to promote whole person education in Asia.


History.Yenching YDS Archive

Photo courtesy of United Board Archives, Yale Divinity School Library.

Student-centered learning remains a central part of United Board programming.