David York

Growing from Strength to Strength

David York, left, with United Board President Nancy Chapman and Executive Vice President Ricky Cheng

David York, left, with United Board President Nancy Chapman and Executive Vice President Ricky Cheng

David York’s support for the United Board began in 2012, but his connection to the United Board actually goes back much further. In the 1940s, Mr. York’s father attended St. John’s University in Shanghai, one of the 13 Chinese Christian universities that comprised the United Board’s earliest network.

Now living in Hong Kong, Mr. York leads Dragon Crowd Enterprises, an international apparel manufacturer and retailer. And while he has invested most of his energy over the past 40 years into building a successful business, the growing need for higher education in Asia also has been on his mind. “It is only through good education that an individual or a country can grow from strength to strength,” he said in a recent interview.

His focus is naturally directed toward mainland China, where Dragon Crowd has a major manufacturing base in Dongguan and a retail network that spans more than 70 cities and districts. He finds that “China lacks comprehensive programs to train faculty and scholars,” the lifeblood of a university. That is one reason why the United Board Fellows Program appeals to him. “It helps nurture and train faculty and scholars from China and other regions through mentorship and placement,” he said, describing how the program exposes midlevel Asian faculty to best practices through four-month placements at Asian and American colleges and universities.

For the past two years, Mr. York has sponsored United Board Fellowships for two Chinese faculty members. His generous contribution opens new doors for these rising leaders in education and, in turn, for many others. “I hope the returned scholars can benefit their students in the same way,” he said.

Mr. York notes that he navigated his business through decades of changing conditions by remaining true to key principles: always remain humble; listen to what others have to say; and continue to learn through reading, in order to develop crucial analytical skills. Those principles also serve as sound advice to United Board Fellows, as they embark on journeys that will expand their experiences, knowledge, skills, and networks.

(First published in Horizons in November 2013.)