On October 1, 1922, new tenants opened the door of a one-room office located at 150 Fifth Avenue in New York City. The Central Office of the China Union Universities, as it was called, was established by the trustees of three Christian colleges in China: University of Nanking, Shantung Christian University, and Yenching University. The trustees recognized that they could draw strength by coordinating their North American activities, such as record keeping, purchasing and shipping supplies to China, and raising financial support for the colleges. Fukien Christian University and Western China University joined this arrangement soon afterwards.
The Central Office was the precursor to the United Board. Over the years, the organization’s name changed, its governance structure evolved, and its geographic focus spread to other Asian countries. Most importantly, the dynamics in Asian countries and within its institutions of higher education changed significantly. Yet an underlying principle has remained constant and is evident in the United Board’s work today: by working in supportive partnership, the United Board can help Asian colleges and universities secure the intellectual and financial resources they need to thrive.
Source: Ever New Horizons: The Story of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, 1922-1975, by William P. Fenn.
Originally published in Horizons in November 2011.