Shih Cheng Yen
Doctor of Social Sciences
Cheng Yen, a Buddhist nun working out of Taiwan, has inspired countless people to help others in need. She became a nun in her mid-twenties and, in 1966, founded the Tzu-Chi (Compassionate Giving) Foundation with her five disciples and 30 followers. Since that time, the Foundation has developed into the largest and most-trusted charity in Taiwan. Its members devote themselves to charity, healthcare, education and social and cultural programmes. Cheng’s devotion to her religion and to the goals of the foundation has inspired a following of over four million people around the world. The foundation has raised a great deal of funding for people in need. In addition to providing clothing, food and shelter for the poor and the homeless, the foundation sponsors several major community projects. These include a nursing home, the Tzu-Chi Hospital dedicated to treating the poor of Taiwan, the Buddhist Tzu-Chi Free Clinic in the United States, the Tzu-Chi College of Medicine, a Buddhist cultural centre, and a nursing school for young women from poor families.
In recognition of her valuable contributions to mankind, the University has resolved to confer upon her the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa.