SMU President Among Bay Area’s Top Business Leaders

Monica Villavicencio, SMU News

Samuel Merritt University President Ching-Hua Wang has been named one of the San Francisco Business Times’ Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business. 

The annual award celebrates women business leaders in diverse fields from finance and real estate to education, technology, and healthcare. 

As SMU president, Wang has launched a number of strategic initiatives to improve health sciences education and tackle health disparities in the community. Wang created the Office of Community Engagement, which sets guidelines and measures the effectiveness of SMU’s community outreach efforts. Each year, SMU students, faculty, and staff provide thousands of hours of free health screenings and health education throughout the region.

Wang is also a member of the Bay Area Higher Education Leadership Council. The group, comprised of more than 30 college and university presidents and chancellors, comes together to address issues affecting higher education in the region, such as workforce development and education access. Wang has brought a valuable perspective to the group, says council chair and University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ. 

“Dr. Wang has been a strong voice for Samuel Merritt University and the needs of its students,” says Christ. “We congratulate her and thank her for her contributions to the council.”  

Elite 100 

Wang has long been a leader in higher education. Prior to assuming the role of SMU president in the fall of 2018, Wang was provost at California State University, Sacramento. She also previously served as dean of the School of Health and Natural Sciences at Dominican University, where she managed extramural grants and raised $9.3 million from corporations and other private sources. In 2001, Wang was one of 13 faculty members recruited to establish California State University, Channel Islands. 

To pursue her education, Wang overcame a challenging childhood in China, where she was placed in forced labor camps during the Cultural Revolution. After earning her MD and a master’s degree in immunology in Beijing, Wang came to the U.S. and completed her doctorate in immunology at Cornell University.

The San Francisco Business Times’ list honors more than 100 women representing companies and organizations including Gilead Sciences, Visa, multinational engineering firm AECOM, and the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. 

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