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May 4, 2016

First graduates of historic joint degree program set to cross stage

Saginaw Valley State University and its sister institution, Ming Chuan University, are preparing to celebrate the first graduates of the schools’ innovative joint degree program.

Four students are completing master’s degrees in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language and will receive diplomas from both universities during Commencement exercises at SVSU Saturday, May 7.  Chuan Lee, president of Ming Chuan, is leading a delegation of 15 faculty from the Taiwan-based school to attend the ceremony.

Ming Chuan opened its Michigan campus through leasing space from SVSU in 2014. It is believed to be the only such collaboration in Michigan where an Asian university has a physical campus in the state. Ming Chuan also was the first Asian university to be accredited in the United States, by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

“I have learned more than just the solid knowledge and skills of teaching Chinese as a second language,” said I-Hsuan Lai, who is completing the program. “I have gained the valuable experience of studying abroad. I am looking forward to using my degree in the next chapter of my life.”

Joining Lai in completing degrees are Yi-an Huang, Lifang Qiu and Jieying Shi.  

A study by the Asia Society, a group that advocates for developing cultural and linguistic understanding between the people of the U.S. and China, found that if Chinese were to be taught in U.S. schools as commonly as French (about one million students), the U.S. would need 10,000 additional teachers. (

Beginning this fall, SVSU and Ming Chuan will add a joint master’s degree program in new media and communication administration. Students can register for both programs now to begin courses in August. A one-time scholarship of $500 is available to students upon successful completion of the first semester.

Ming Chuan University has more than 140,000 alumni worldwide, four campuses in Taiwan, and one in Michigan. For more information, visit