Chao Center–A Campus Built on Philanthropy

An extraordinary gift to Harvard University and HBS from a Dr. James Si-Cheng Chao and family foundation is funding both the new Executive Education facility and financial assistance for deserving MBA students from China, or whose families are from China. The gift is a tribute to the life and legacy of the late Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, beloved matriarch of this prominent and accomplished Chinese-American family with significant Harvard ties. The Chao Family—the only family in the School’s history to have had four daughters attend—poignantly made their gift during the 50th anniversary celebration of women in Harvard’s full-time MBA Program and the 375th anniversary of Harvard University.

James S.C. Chao is an industrialist whose philanthropic interests—which he shared with his wife, a scholar in Asian history and literature—are focused on education and US-China cultural exchanges. All six of Dr. and Mrs. Chao’s daughters received undergraduate and graduate degrees from prestigious American universities, including four who attended the MBA Program at HBS: Elaine Chao, Mt. Holyoke College and HBS; Jeanette Chao, Smith College and College of William & Mary, MBA; May Chao Wellesley College and HBS; Christine Chao, Colgate University and Columbia Law School, JD; Grace Chao, Wellesley College, HBS, Ph.D. Columbia University; and Angela Chao, Harvard College and HBS.

Speaking about his wife at the time of the gift, Dr. Chao noted, “I am eternally grateful for the unconditional love, trust, and confidence Ruth showed in me throughout our life and for always supporting and encouraging me in all our endeavors. Because Ruth devoted her life to promoting excellence in education and enhancing US-China cultural exchanges, she embodied the spirit of the love of learning in this university community.”

Also at the time of the gift, the Honorable Elaine L. Chao (MBA 1979), US Secretary of Labor from 2001 to 2009 and the first Asian-American woman ever appointed to a president’s cabinet in American history, said that her mother “was a positive, optimistic person who believed in the transformational power of education regardless of gender in developing leaders for the world.” Angela Chao (Harvard AB 1995, MBA 2001), the youngest daughter of the Chao family, stated, “We are so pleased to be able to further the School’s work of educating leaders who make a difference in the world while at the same time honoring our mother—the woman who inspired us with her selflessness and courage.”

May Chao (MBA 1985) added: “As a strong advocate of women, this gift genuinely reflects my Mother’s kind, altruistic and loving spirit as well as her dedication and passion for learning and higher education.”

Accepting the gift on behalf of the University, Harvard President Drew Faust thanked the family for their deep commitment “to making Harvard more accessible to more people and to building a welcoming environment for generations of business leaders from around the world.” HBS Dean Nitin Nohria said, “The Chao family is the embodiment of the American dream, and we are humbled by their generosity.”

James S.C. Chao(赵锡成)博士和他的家族基金会向哈佛大学和哈佛商学院提供了一份特殊的礼物,用于资助新的高管教育设施(The Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center)和为来自中国或其家庭来自中国的优秀MBA学生提供资助。该礼物是对已故 Ruth Mulan Chu Chao(赵朱木兰) 的生命和遗产的致敬,她是这个与哈佛有密切关系的杰出的、有成就的华裔美国人家族中深受喜爱的女主人。赵氏家族–学校历史上唯一一个有四个女儿入学的家族–在哈佛大学全日制MBA项目中的女性50周年庆典和哈佛大学375周年校庆期间慷慨地捐赠了礼物。



在捐赠的同时,2001年至2009年的美国劳工部长、美国历史上第一位被任命为总统内阁成员的亚裔美国人赵小兰(1979年MBA)阁下说,她的母亲 “是一个积极、乐观的人,她相信教育不分性别地在为世界培养领导人方面的变革力量。” 赵家最小的女儿赵安吉(1995年哈佛大学学士,2001年MBA)说:”我们很高兴能够进一步推进学校的教育工作,培养改变世界的领导者,同时向我们的母亲致敬,同时纪念我们的母亲–她以无私和勇气激励了我们。”


哈佛大学校长德鲁·福斯特代表学校接受了这份礼物,他感谢这个家庭对 “让更多的人接触到哈佛大学,并为来自世界各地的几代商业领袖建立一个温馨的环境 “的深刻承诺。HBS院长Nitin Nohria说,”赵氏家族是美国梦的体现,我们对他们的慷慨解囊深感责任重大。”



赵锡成,1927年生于江苏省嘉定县,1946年,考取国立交通大学航海科,后改由国立吴淞商船专科学校航政系办学。从1988年至1999年十一年其间,担任两岸五所交通大学在美洲的校友总会的董事长,致力于两岸交大五校的交流。赵博士2005年5月在美国纽约艾利斯岛被授予“杰出移民”奖;8月又接受《星岛日报》颁发的“终生成就奖” ;12月又受亚裔就业服务工商协会颁发的“杰出成就奖” ;2013年5月,赵锡成博士和女儿赵小兰共同获颁“2013年怀海德社会事业奖”。


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