About Us

Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees

Overall governance of the university lies in the hands of its 15-member Board of Trustees. The Trustees select the president, oversee all faculty and senior administrative appointments, monitor the budget, supervise the endowment, and protect University property.

By-Laws of the Trustees

The By-Laws of the trustees specify the rules by which the trustees operate. The by-laws set the schedule of trustee meetings. The role and powers of the trustees’ standing committees are stated in the by-laws.

Venerable Master Hsing Yun Shih

Founder, Emeritus Board Chair

Venerable Master Hsing Yun Shih / Founder, Chairman Emeritus

Grand Master Hsing Yun was born in Jiangsu Province, China in 1927. At the age of 12 he entered into a Buddhist monastery in Nanjing. He completed his ordination in 1941, and received the formal announcement as the 48th patriarch of the Lin-Chi Ch’an School of Mahayana Buddhism.

Grand Master Hsing Yun is the founder of the Fo Guang Shan International Buddhist Order, where he fulfilled his long-held vow of promoting Humanistic Buddhism. For nearly half a century, Grand Master Hsing Yun has devoted his efforts to transforming our world through the practice of Humanistic Buddhism. He also founded Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) in 1992. It has active chapters worldwide.

He is an outspoken proponent of equality among all people and religious traditions. The Order has the largest number of female monastics of any Buddhist order today. By providing and supporting educational and leadership opportunities, he has worked to improve the status of women in Asia. He has held full ordination ceremonies for women of the Mahayana, Theravada, and Vajrayana Buddhist traditions. In addition, Grand Master Hsing Yun annually organizes conferences to bring together the various Buddhist schools and to promote dialogue between Buddhists and other major religious groups.

He travels and lectures widely. His insightful, engaging, and witty lectures unfailingly endear him to audiences. He reminds us that to transform our world, we must be actively engaged in it. “Community transcends the individual,” he says, “and in doing so, fulfills the individual in the most complete way possible.” Wherever he goes, he encourages people to unite both the local and global community into a world of complete equality, joyfulness, and perfect peace.

Grand Master Hsing Yun is a prolific writer and has authored over one hundred books in Chinese. His writings have been translated into English and many other languages.


Venerable Hsin Bau Shih

Board Chair, Trustee

Venerable Hsin Bau Shih, Abbot of Fo Guang Shan / Chair

Venerable Hsin Bau Shih (Ven. Hui Chi, Chi Rung Wang) was born in Taiwan in 1964. The Venerable started graduate studies in Chinese Buddhism in Fo Guang Shan in 1986, and in 1988 tonsured under Venerable Master Hsing Yun in Hsi Lai Temple.

Since 1990, the Venerable has been assigned to Vancouver in Canada, Deer Park in New York, and Hsi Lai Temple in Los Angeles. Besides serving as abbot of Hsi Lai Temple and trustee at the University of the West, the Venerable is also the Vice Secretary General of Buddha’s Light International Association World Headquarters, overseeing the chapters in western parts of North America.

In 2012 Venerable Hsin Bau was elected Chairperson of Fo Guang Shan Board of Directors as well as the ninth-term Head Abbot of Fo Guang Shan Temple.


Venerable Hui Dong Shih

Executive Trustee

Venerable Hui Dong Shih, Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple / Executive Trustee

Originally from China, came to the US in 1998. Studied at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and received an MBA degree in 2002. Studied at UWest from 2006 to 2013 in the PHD program of religious studies. Was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 2008, and joined the monastic order of Fo Guang Shan, which is affiliated with UWest. Joined the board of Trustees of UWest since 2013.

Dr. Allen M. Huang


Dr. Allen M. Huang

Dr. Allen M. Huang has served as an educator in the field of higher education for more than 40 years. He started his professional career as a faculty member at the University of Northern Colorado after he received his doctoral degree from University of Alabama in 1978. During his tenure at UNC, he served as a faculty member in education, Chair, Dean, Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. In 2007, he was appointed as President of University of the West. He left University of the West in 2009 to join Beifang International Universities Group as chief educational advisor and consultant. Since 2018, Dr. Huang has been a member of Board of Trustees at Sofia University.

Dr. Huang’s publications and scholarly activities include a textbook (Children in Conflict), chapters, 13 arbitrary reports, articles, and numerous juried/non-juried presentations. He also served as a principal investigator for more than 10 state and federal research and personnel training grant projects.


Cecil Willis, Jr.

Board Vice Chair, Trustee

Cecil Willis, Jr. Stafford City, Texas Councilman

Cecil Willis, Jr. was born in Comfort, Texas and grew up in nearby San Antonio. Cecil went to Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas and graduated with a BS degree in horticultural science in 1966. Upon graduation, Cecil went to work for the City of Houston in the Parks and Recreation Department as the City Horticulturist from 1966 to 1971. Upon leaving the City of Houston, Cecil worked from 1971 to 1972 for Pampered Lawns, a landscape/maintenance company. In 1972, Cecil was offered a job with Quail Valley Fund, Inc. as the fund’s executive director and continues with them to the present.

Cecil and his family moved to Stafford, Texas in March of 1975. He was elected to the Fort Bend Water Control and Improvement District #2 (WC&ID #2) Board in 1976 and served until 1979, when he was elected to the Stafford City Council, where he served until 1995. He left the Stafford City Council for a brief time to pursue other aspirations and was re-elected to the Stafford City Council in 2000 and continues to serve. Cecil currently serves as a director on the Houston-Galveston Area Council.

Cecil is very active in both the community as well as the governmental scene. He has served as a director on the Fort Bend County Fair Association Board since 1988 and was president of the association in 1995. Cecil serves as a director on the Texas Association of Fairs and Events board and has been with the Stafford-Missouri City Lions Club as an active member for over 30 years. He is currently club president.

Cecil and his wife are both very strong advocates of education as can be seen by their active participation in the Stafford Municipal School District, not only at the administrative level, but at the volunteer and student level as well. They attend most of the functions presented by the school, its teachers, and, especially, its students. Cecil is also a board member on the Fort Bend County Texas A & M Club, which works to provide scholarships for students to attend Texas A & M University.

Cecil enjoys being with his family, working in the yard, working with livestock, and helping young people with their FFA and 4-H projects. His real love is Texas A & M football and any other Texas A & M function or athletic event.


Darlene Lanham


Darlene Lanham, Executive Director of Asian Family Support Services of Austin

Darlene Lanham brings over 15 years of leadership in public affairs, policy, and public administration to serve UWest’s mission.

Ms. Lanham is Managing Director of Hill Country Advisory Group, LLC, a public affairs firm serving associations and nonprofits and small businesses in the U.S. and Asia. She has led political campaigns, law enforcement contract negotiations, and revenue diversification efforts and implemented public affairs projects in Texas and Florida. She directs National Coalition Building Institute’s Texas chapter, which provides continuing education for diversity trainers, offers Welcoming Diversity/Prejudice Reduction workshops, and teaches the Working Through Controversial Issues process in methods recognized by the U.S. President’s Commission on Race.

Ms. Lanham is past Chairwoman of the Capital Area Council of Governments Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, which prioritizes grant funding on behalf of the Governor of the State of Texas for essential services such as domestic violence shelters and law enforcement for 10 counties in Central Texas. She is past Chair of the City of Austin Commission for Women, which advises the city manager and council on matters affecting women and the families who are connected to them.

Her volunteer work has included leadership to the Central Texas chapter of the American Society for Public Administration; she has moderated discussions on democracy, social security and medicare with Texas Forums/Future Forums and served as a deputy voter registrar.

She earned her master’s degree in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas at Austin in 2005. Prior to her studies in public policy and administration, she managed events at the University of North Texas College of Music’s Murchison Performing Arts Center.


Diana Martinez


Diana Martinez, Attorney at Law

Diana Martinez is an attorney who brings a wide array of experience in policy, public affairs, and public service.

Mrs. Martinez is the VP of Public Policy for the Texas Assisted Living Association. She advocates on the behalf of assisted living communities in Texas and seeks to strengthen policies that promote fair and consistent regulation, enhance resident safety, and promote the protection of the elderly.

Mrs. Martinez served as General Counsel to a Texas Senator and covered numerous policy areas while serving as a staffer in the Texas Senate. She also worked for the Public Health Committee of the Texas House of Representatives as a policy analyst.

Mrs. Martinez has worked on a number of children issues and focused on that policy area for a number of years. She served on the Department of Family and Protective Services Disposition and Trauma-Informed Care Workgroups. She was a Collaborative member of the Supreme Court Commission on Children, Youth and Families and served on the Legal Representation and Foster Youth Psychotropic Medications Workgroups. Additionally, she was on the Executive Committee and Co-Chair of the Policy Committee for the legislatively created Task Force to Address the Relationship between Domestic Violence and Child Abuse and Neglect and a member of Children’s Justice Act Task Force.

Prior to 2003, Mrs. Martinez was a litigation attorney serving in the private sector. She served on the Board of Directors of the Texas Young Lawyers Association. She was deeply involved in the Corpus Christi Young Lawyers Association and served on the Board of Directors for six years – the last year as President. She was an Associate member of The Hon. Reynaldo G. Garza American Inn of Court and a Barrister member of the Robert W. Calvert American Inn of Court.

Her community involvement has included serving on the United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County, Children’s Issue Council, the Nueces County Juvenile Citizens Advisory Board, and City of Corpus Christi Civil Service Commission. She was elected to serve as the Nueces County Democratic Party Chair in 2000.

Mrs. Martinez earned her Juris Doctor at The University of Texas School of Law and her BBA in Marketing and Management at The University of Texas, Austin.


Dr. Howard Wang


Short Bio of Dr. Howard Wang

Dr. Wang has over 30 years work experience in higher education institutions at UCLA and California State University Fullerton, where he served for 12 years as an Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. He retired in 2018 from Duke Kunshan University (DKU), located in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, China. DKU is a joint venture research/liberal arts institution established by three partners: City of Kunshan, Duke University and Wuhan University. Dr. Wang served as the Associate Dean of Students and Adjunct Professor in Education at DKU. He was also an adjunct professor in Higher Education, Beijing Normal University. Dr. Wang wrote a book chapter on differential participation by Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, teachers, and professors in U.S. secondary and higher education respectively. He has also written articles on issues facing global student affairs published by the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). He contributed articles as well as served as an editor and then as an associate editor for a manual on “Student Affairs and Services in Higher Education: Global Foundations, Issues and Best Practices” published by UNESCO.

Dr. Wang has always been an advocate for social justice and education equity for members of the AAPI communities. He currently serves on the Board of Associates with the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Los Angeles Lodge, and a member of the Board of Directors with the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California. He is a member of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates – Los Angeles Chapter and the interim VP for the Orange County Chapter.


Venerable Hui Chuan Shih


Venerable Hui Chuan Shih, Vice Abbot of Fo Guang Shan

Venerable Hui Chuan (Hsi-Shen Fang) was born into a Buddhist family in Taiwan. His grandfather, aunt, and brother have been in the monastery. Under these influences, in 1988 he began his monkhood in Fo Guang Shan under Master Hsing Yun.

He has served as the Vice President of Pu-Men High School in Taiwan, Vice President of Taipei Buddhist Monk College, Executor of Young Adult Divisions of BLIA (Buddhist Light International Association), Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple in Los Angeles, CA., council member of Fo-Guang Shan North America, and Vice President of the Merit Times, a daily newspaper published in English and Chinese. Currently, he holds the following positions: Chairman of Fo Guang Shan Domestic Supervisory Council, BLIA World Headquarters Deputy Secretary General, and BLIA World Headquarters Young Adult Division Director.

“Education to foster talent, culture to propagate the Dharma, charity to benefit society, and Dharma services to purify human minds,” these are the four principal missions Venerable Hui-Chuan follows to spread the seeds of Humanistic Buddhism. He travels around the world to give lectures, his proficiency in lecturing and articulation winning much recognition around the globe. His enthusiasm to go out into the community to offer service has benefited many as well. During his time as abbot of Hsi Lai Temple in Los Angeles, his speeches and ceremonies drew large audiences. Through numerous activities, many participants have embraced Buddhist beliefs.


C. Jim Chen


Bio of C. Jim Chen

  1. Jim Chen is a practicing CPA since 1976. His areas of service include accounting, auditing and income tax services. Industries served include wholesale, import & export, healthcare, hospitality and colleges and other non-profit organizations.
  2. Jim Chen also actively involves in Buddha’s Light International Association. From South Bay Subchapter, Los Angeles Chapter, to the world headquarter, as a lay dharma teacher and currently Chief Financial Officer. Helping to promote humanistic Buddhism is his way of self-cultivation.
  3. Jim Chen had been an adjunct accounting professional at University of the West, until spring of 2018. Sharing his accounting knowledge and practice with the students at University of the West was a very enjoyable experience.


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Joshua Figuli


Joshua Figuli, JD/MBA

As an attorney and consultant for 12 years, Mr. Figuli focused his efforts solely in postsecondary education and advised numerous non-profit and for-profit university clients in a range of legal matters. Mr. Figuli’s clients include some of the industry’s most successful educational organizations as well as one regional accrediting agency. Mr. Figuli viewed his practice as adaptive to the educational needs and mission objectives of his clients while assisting in the creation of organizational value.
Mr. Figuli is an expert in institutional partnerships, joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions and corporate structures. Mr. Figuli has represented post-secondary clients both in the capacity of general counsel pertaining to institutional governance and day-to-day corporate and operational matters as well as in litigation related to areas such as misappropriation of intellectual property, faculty employment matters, disputes arising from partnership agreements, institutional transactions, and matters before the Department of Education.
For the past several years Mr. Figuli has shifted efforts from law and consulting and focused on applying his skills and expertise to building an institution of postsecondary education. Mr. Figuli is a part owner of Hussian College, a postsecondary institution founded in Philadelphia in 1946, and expanding in the last few years to seven campuses across the United States offering programs ranging from the performing arts, business, design and technology degree programs as well as shorter-term certificate and associate degree programs focused on entry-level positions in health sciences, criminal justice, and technology.
Mr. Figuli received his Bachelor of Arts from Regis University and received his Juris Doctorate and MBA from Golden Gate University.


Venerable Miao Hsi Shih


Ven. Miao Hsi
Buddha’s Light Publications, USA
Los Angeles, California

Ordained under the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, she has served for four years as the editor-in-chief of the English pages of the Merit Times (America) daily newspaper, and the director of both the Fo Guang Shan International Translation Center and Buddha’s Light Publishing in America for three years. Responsible for translating the works of Venerable Master Hsing Yun into English, her translated works include seven volumes of the series, Between Ignorance and Enlightenment, and the two volumes of Dharma Words.

She has served as one of the directors of Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, California for ten years, in charge of cultural and educational activities, interfaith work, and community outreach, also planning and teaching the temple’s English Buddhism classes. Currently, she is the executive director of Buddha’s Light Publications USA.


Roger Frank


Roger Frank, Treasurer / Entrepreneur

Roger Frank is one of the pioneers in using capital markets for social change. After 20 years on Wall Street with a focus on emerging markets, he was part of the team that created the first commercial, cross-border capital raise for microfinance. As part of that effort, he spent years traveling the globe to convince investors that poor women in emerging markets who want to take care of their families are a good credit risk. The models he helped create brought several billion dollars of commercial funding into the field, and in 2008 he won a Fast Company Award for businesses pioneering new models for social impact.

He created I3 Advisors to build on his experience on Wall Street, emerging markets, microfinance, and impact investing. i3 is a commercial fund management company whose goal is to use the capital markets as a funding source for positive social change. He has worked with CEOs of major multi-national corporations and presidents of central banks; he has discussed new models for sustainability with presidents and princesses and taught women prisoners, disabled adults, and students of all ages.

After starting his own graphic design studio, founding community arts programs, teaching in prisons and schools, and participating in an extensive tour behind the iron curtain, Roger received an MBA in Finance and International Business from New York University Stern School of Business. He holds a BFA, cum laude, from the University of Delaware, speaks conversational German and Spanish, and is on the Livelihoods Council for Save the Children, the Microfinance Social Performance Task Force, and the Advisory Board of the Fashion & Sustainability Graduate Program at the University of Delaware.


Tim Chang


Tim Chang, Partner, Musick Peeler & Garrett, LLP

Tim Chang is a partner at Musick Peeler & Garrett, LLP.  He has practiced law since 1993, focusing on business transactions, mergers & acquisitions, corporate governance, real estate and cross-border estate/business planning.  He is admitted before all courts of the State of California, Central District of U.S. District Court, U.S. Tax Court and U.S. Court of International Trade.

Mr. Chang has been named Southern California Rising Star by Law & Politics and Los Angeles Magazine as well as a SuperLawyer by SuperLawyers Magazine.  He was also selected Top Attorney in the business category by Pasadena Magazine.  Mr. Chang has published many articles in Los Angeles Business Journal, Practical Lawyers and other professional and business journals.  He is a co-author of Cross-Border Taxation for Individuals in U.S. China and Taiwan, published by Harvard-Inspired Press, Taipei, and Shanghai University Press, Shanghai in 2011. Mr. Chang is an independent member of the Board of First Commercial Bank (USA), a member of the Board of Chang Yuan Motor Co. Ltd., a member of the Board of Hotai Shinyeh Co. Ltd. and a former member of the Board of Hotai Motor Co. Ltd.

Mr. Chang holds a special interest and significant experience in matters of nonprofit organizations.  For over 20 years, he has volunteered at and served as general counsel of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation U.S.A.  He is currently a Board member of Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, a Board member of Wei Chuan Educational and Cultural Foundation and a Board member of Southern California Monte Jade Science and Technology Association.  He was the President of Taiwanese American Lawyers Association in 1998 and a founding Board member and general counsel of the Greater Los Angeles Taiwan Center Foundation.  Mr. Chang holds a J.D. from McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, B.A. from the University of Southern California, and certification in corporate governance from Tulane Law School/BIS.  During law school, he was awarded the Best Memorial in International Moot Court Competition and was a member of International Moot Court Honors Board.


Venerable Tzu Jung Shih


Venerable Tzu Jung Shih, Acting President, BLIA World Headquarters

Venerable Tzu Jung (Suh-Jen Wu) is a graduate of Japan’s Bukkyo University, where she majored in social welfare, and has received an honorary doctorate degree from University of the West.

In 1974, she received a national award for outstanding contributions for social welfare, and in 2000 and 2003, awards for social merit from the Taiwanese Ministry of Education.


Venerable Zhi Hsi Shih


Venerable Zhi Hsi Shih, Trustee

  • A monastic disciple of Ven. Master Hsing Yun
  • Currently support finance related operations of FoGuangShan US after studying and serving at FGS Headquarter in Taiwan.
  • Have worked finance and operational efficiency roles in China, Australia, United States and Germany prior becoming a Buddhist minister.
  • Holding Master’s degrees in professional accounting and laws from Victoria University and the University of Melbourne in Australia, she is also an Australian CPA.