The first Chinese student to graduate from an American university, Yung Wing believed deeply in the possibility of collaboration between the US and China. Yung studied under Protestant missionaries in Hong Kong and then Massachusetts in the 1840s, became an American citizen in 1852, and married Mary Louise Kellogg, the daughter of a prominent Connecticut family. In 1872, he organized the Chinese Educational Mission, recruiting 120 Chinese students to study at prestigious American preparatory schools.
In his 1909 biography My Life in China and America, Yung explained his decision to remain in the US. His aim was to bolster relations between his homeland and adoptive country by bringing the brightest young minds of China to study at America’s foremost educational institutions. He dedicated his life to overcoming the great barriers being erected between the two countries.