Yee named director of Brandywine's Center for Ethics and Civic Engagement

MEDIA, Pa. — Vippy Yee recently joined Penn State Brandywine as the Rosenberg Director of the campus’ Center for Ethics and Civic Engagement, formerly known as the Laboratory for Civic and Community Engagement.

Yee originally joined the Brandywine community as a part-time instructor in 2006 — a position that she held for nine years. She departed in 2015 to pursue a full-time career as the assistant director of volunteer programs in the civic engagement office at Bryn Mawr College.

“The civic engagement role at Bryn Mawr was a great fit for me, and in many ways, prepared me for what I’m doing now,” said Yee.

After three and a half years at Bryn Mawr, Yee learned that Penn State Brandywine was hiring a director for the reformed Center for Ethics and Civic Engagement.

“When I read the Penn State announcement, I said, ‘This is my dream job! I would love to be considered for this,’” she said.

Yee brings a lifetime of volunteerism, travel experience and commitment to public service to the Brandywine campus. Born in Sydney, Australia, Yee lived abroad for much of her childhood and young adulthood.

“I lived abroad for most of my 20s,” she said. “I met my husband, who is Dutch, while working in China. I’ve lived in Shanghai, London, Ireland, Washington, D.C., and Antwerp, Belgium. I actually did my graduate work in London and commuted between London and Belgium.”

Eventually, Yee, her husband and her twin daughters, now 15 years old, moved from Ireland to Pennsylvania. They quickly became active volunteers in their new community.

“Civic engagement has always been an important personal value of mine anyway,” said Yee, who is currently an elected council member in Rose Valley Borough. “It has found many natural outlets in my own community.”

Yee joins the center at an especially exciting time in its history. Thanks to a generous gift from David and Margie Rosenberg through the David and Marjorie Rosenberg Family Foundation, the center has been restructured to make ethics and community engagement a more prominent and integrated part of campus life. One of the donation’s most significant effects was the ability to hire a full-time director for the center. The former laboratory was managed on a part-time basis by full-time faculty members.

“By having a fully dedicated director on site, we get to reimagine what can happen here. The center will get some new, refocused attention,” Yee said.

"It's important that the Penn State Brandywine experience for students is more than academics,” said Chancellor Kristin Woolever. “The Center for Ethics and Civic Engagement provides students with the tools they need to be engaged citizens of a diverse world. They are the promise of our future."

Yee plans to begin by taking stock of existing programs, connections and groups on campus that practice civic and community engagement. She also hopes to facilitate the creation of more opportunities for service and involvement on campus.

“Especially since Brandywine is now a residential campus, we need to think of new ways to create more community,” she said. “Social justice and community engagement are great ways to create defining opportunities for our students, whether living here or commuting.”

Beyond Brandywine, Yee plans to develop new community partnerships as well. Specifically, she plans to focus on the city of Chester and the greater Delaware County region.

“This is our home,” she said. “I have many connections to Chester through work, my church and personal efforts, and I believe we will have many opportunities to support that region.”

As the center prepares for the upcoming academic year, Yee believes that the program’s future will be a productive, invigorating part of campus life. She also hopes that the new focus on the center’s current and potential opportunities will benefit Brandywine's students, faculty, staff and greater community.  

“In this day and age, one of the most important things a university can do is help students become more socially aware and give them tools to make a difference,” she said. “I sincerely hope the center is a place where students can find many ways to do that.”

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Last Updated July 12, 2018