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Evelyn Hu DeHart

Lecture on pioneering Chinese-American faculty member to be held Oct. 3

Posted: 09/16/2013

Roosevelt University will remember and pay tribute to founding faculty member Rose Hum Lee (below), the first Chinese-American woman to chair an academic department at a U.S. university, with a lecture on Lee’s life and contributions at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 3 in the University’s second-floor Sullivan Room, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Rose Hum Lee

The lecture entitled “Rose Hum Lee, PhD: Pioneer American Woman and Scholar” will be delivered by Evelyn Hu-DeHart (above), a Brown University professor of history who has studied Lee’s life, career and many achievements.

“As a woman, as an Asian American and as an academic, Dr. Lee was way ahead of her times and she did it at Roosevelt,” said Hu-DeHart, who is also the director of Brown University’s Center of the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America.

Lee began working at Roosevelt University at its founding in 1945.  She was a faculty member in the University’s Department of Sociology and in 1956 became the first female instructor of Chinese descent appointed to head an academic department at a major American university.

For more than 20 years, Lee was one of the only sociologists studying the Chinese in America. Her extensive research and studies on Chinese-Americans include: demographic trends, Chinatowns, culture, economic institutions, tongs (secret societies), family life and religion.  Her most important work, The Chinese in the United States of America, was published in 1960.
 
“I was a woman; I was in a man’s field, and I was Chinese.  That meant three strikes against me…The fact that I was able to overcome these barriers is a tremendous encouragement to others, particularly women who belong to minority groups,” Lee once remarked.
 
The Roosevelt professor’s impact on her community and academia continued after she left her position at the University. After moving to Phoenix, Ariz., she did research on migrant laborers as well as on the legal status of American Indian children. She died an untimely death due to a brain embolism on March 25, 1964.
 
This lecture is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.  For more information about the event and/or to RSVP please contact: maguiler@roosevelt.edu