Yu Yu was born and raised in China and attended Wellesley College for her undergraduate studies. She earned her master’s degree from Boston University and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, with a dissertation focused on paintings from China’s Yuan dynasty. Yu Yu is fluent in Chinese, Japanese and English, and her scholarship on Chinese art has appeared in numerous publications.
Yu Yu was selected for the MFA position following an international search. Named director of the USC Pacific Asia Museum in 2014, she led the institution’s transition following a merger with the University of Southern California. In addition to providing a new vision for exhibitions, acquisitions and programs, she spearheaded USC PAM’s first complete inventory and survey of its collection and developed a master plan for a large-scale renovation to transform the museum building from an early 20th-century private residence into a 21st-century public space. Under her tenure, Phase 1, a seismic retrofit, of the master plan, was completed late last year. Yu Yu also led USC PAM’s efforts to advance public programs and broaden local outreach, working to build a bridge between the Pasadena community and students and faculty at USC.