The University of Oxford is delighted to announce the creation of two new graduate scholarships in Chinese art history, thanks to a gift of £1.5 million from June and Simon Li. Once appointed, the scholars will work alongside Dr J.P. Park, who has recently been named as the inaugural June and Simon Li Associate Professor of the History of Chinese Art.

Beginning in the 2020/21 academic year, one scholarship will be awarded annually to DPhil students wishing to pursue advanced studies of Chinese art history. June and Simon Li's commitment will ensure that the highest calibre students are able to come to Oxford, regardless of their financial means.

Lui Shou-Kwan, 'Cheung Chau' (detail) © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. Reproduced with kind permission of the artists' estate

June and Simon Li have been generous supporters of Oxford for many years, having given to numerous college projects, as well as funding scholarships for international undergraduates. In 2017 they endowed a vital teaching post in Chinese art history: the June and Simon Li Associate Professorship of the History of Chinese Art. The inaugural post holder, Dr Park, will join Oxford from the University of California in October.

Dr Park's research touches upon a wide spectrum of art historical materials, ranging from ancient tombs in North Korea to contemporary art in China. As well as belonging to the University's History of Art Department, Dr Park will hold a tutorial fellowship at Lincoln College, where he will supervise the research conducted by both June and Simon Li Graduate Scholars.

Professor Alastair Wright, Head of the History of Art Department, said: 'As the first ever endowed post in the history of art at Oxford, the June and Simon Li Associate Professorship in the History of Chinese Art is of unrivalled significance. The new appointee, Dr J.P. Park, will make a hugely important contribution to teaching and research in the field of Chinese art at Oxford. June and Simon Li's generous funding of two doctoral scholarships will allow Dr Park to attract young scholars of the highest calibre, making Oxford an internationally significant centre for the study of Chinese art.'

Simon Li studied English Literature at Lincoln College, matriculating in 1966. Over 40 years later, he retired from a distinguished career in journalism, having held senior positions at the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Los Angeles Times. June Li is a respected historian of Asian art. She was the founding curator of the Chinese Garden at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, until her retirement in 2014.

June and Simon Li said: 'We are immensely gratified that Dr Park has been chosen, particularly as his renowned scholarship extends beyond China to two historically related countries in East Asia, Korea and Japan. Our thanks to the Faculty of History and to Lincoln.'