Former East Asian Studies Faculty Member Lihua Yu Passes Away

Lihua Yu

Lihua Yu, who taught Chinese language in the Department of East Asian Studies for more than twenty years, passed away on May 1, 2020 in Washington D.C. as a result of health complications caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Ms. Yu was born in Shanghai in 1931. She later moved to Taiwan with her family, and subsequently emigrated to California, where she earned a graduate degree at UCLA. Lihua began teaching at University at Albany in the early 1970s. She continued to serve in that capacity until her retirement in the 1990s. Many of her students went on to enjoy outstanding careers in various China-related fields. During the 1980s, Lihua and her husband, former university president Vince O’Leary (1924-2011), were instrumental in setting up several UAlbany exchange programs with universities in China.

In addition to her long career as a successful Chinese language teacher, Lihua Hua was a prolific and accomplished author, having published almost fifty works of fiction. Her novels, most of which are written in Chinese, continue to be extremely popular in Taiwan and Mainland China. Many literary critics have described Lihua as one of the most outstanding Chinese-American writers of her generation. Lihua Yu is survived by two daughters, Anna Sun and Lena Sun, and a son, Eugene Sun.