Written by Patty Templeton
Pauline Chiang was the first female Chinese student to attend UIUC. She joined the College of Commerce (now the Gies College of Business) in 1922. This is 16 years after the first male Chinese students began studying at the university. In a Daily Illini feature, Chiang said, “I am perfectly satisfied at the University of Illinois,” and further stated, “In my home in Pekin, I heard of Illinois, and my friends in this country directed me here. It is a wonderful place.”
Upon her arrival Chiang, lived at McKinley Hall and became active in the Freshman Commission, the Woman’s Cosmopolitan Club, and at the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church. Chiang also associated with the Chinese Students’ Club and took the part of a princess in “The Philosopher’s Stone,” a play that the club wrote and produced in 1923. (Details about the Chinese Students’ Club building can be found here.)
McKinley Hall group from page 430 of the 1924 Illio
Chiang spoke up about issues of world education and race while at UIUC. A Daily Illini article from 1923 features Chiang’s thoughts on the 1922 silent drama East Meets West, a movie that starred a white woman in yellowface and heavily featured stereotypes about Chinese people. Chiang said, “I never saw Chinese girls with false teeth, as so described. I never saw Chinese dressed the way the picture describes.” She goes on to say, “It is the pride of the nation that I am fighting for.”
Freshman Commission from page 170 of the 1924 Illio
Cosmopolitan Club from page 473 of the 1924 Illio
Pauline Chiang is listed in the 1922 Local Faculty and Student Directory. In September of 1923, Pauline Chiang married a fellow student, Herbert C. Euyang. She then appears in the 1923 Local Faculty and Staff Directory as “Mrs. H.C. Euyang.” She is not found by either name in any subsequent directories. Herbert Euyang graduated in 1924 and took a job in Chicago at an importing firm, and this may account for Pauline leaving UIUC’s campus.
For additional information on Pauline Chiang/Pauline Euyang, peruse the 14 mentions of her in the Daily Illini, the 6 mentions of her husband Herbert in the Daily Illini, or contact an archivist.
For more information on the early years of Chinese students studying at UIUC, check out our Illini Everywhere blog series which discusses Chinese students from 1917-1927 and from 1928-1948.