Chia-Wei Woo was born in Shanghai and first came to the U.S. at the age of 17 to attend Georgetown College in Kentucky. When he became SF State's eleventh president in 1983, he was the first Chinese-American president of a large U.S. university.
Woo placed great importance on making San Francisco State "The City's University," and worked with local civic and business leaders to show them the variety of programs and activities at SFSU. He also strengthened SFSU's international curriculum and Pacific Rim ties, starting a business school program in London, and other programs in Shanghai and Paris.
Woo resigned in 1988 to become founding president of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
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