Ching-Hua Wang’s First Day as President of Samuel Merritt University

By: Debra Holtz

Dr. Ching-Hua Wang spent her first day as president of Samuel Merritt University (SMU) on the Oakland campus in a series of introductory meetings, including an afternoon session with the Board of Regents.

In a letter sent to SMU’s faculty and staff, Wang said she plans to meet with them in the coming months to hear their ideas and aspirations. 

“I look forward to listening to each of you and learning more about our University so that we can continue to deliver the high-quality health sciences education for which we have become known and respected,” said Wang. “Our world looks to institutions such as ours to continue to innovate to meet the emerging needs of students and the broader communities we serve.”

Wang succeeds Sharon Diaz, who served as the University’s first president for 36 years. 

The SMU Board of Regents selected Wang from a competitive field of candidates in a nationwide search. Board Chair Jonathan Brown said the search committee was impressed by the dedication, integrity, and commitment to student success that Wang has demonstrated throughout her career.

Before coming to Samuel Merritt University, Wang was provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Sacramento. She previously served as dean of the School of Health and Natural Sciences at Dominican University of California, where she was also a professor of immunology and microbiology. 

Wang was one of the original 13 faculty members recruited to start California State University Channel Islands in 2001. She served as director for the Bridges Stem Cell Research Training Program, chair of several science programs, and director of the Master of Science in Biotech and Bioinformatics program as well as special assistant to the provost.

A native of Beijing, Wang was sent to a small village in Inner Mongolia as a teenager to get ‘re-educated’ during the turbulent period of China’s Cultural Revolution. Separated from her family, she worked in the fields and served as an elementary teacher at a one-room schoolhouse where her students came from impoverished families. She has said that those years of hardship taught her about resilience and the value of education.

Wang earned a medical degree from Beijing Medical College, a master’s degree in immunology from Beijing Medical University, and a doctorate in immunology from Cornell University.

To read more about President Ching-Hua Wang, read this Introduction.



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