01 Dec 2012
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Chao Family Donates $40 Million to HBS

Re: Elaine Chao (MBA 1979)

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HBS and Harvard University have received a $40 million gift from a foundation of Dr. James Si-Cheng Chao and family, in tribute to the life and legacy of the family matriarch, the late Ruth Mulan Chu Chao. The Chaos, émigrés from Taiwan and a remarkable immigrant success story, are the only family ever to have four daughters attend HBS.

"Because Ruth devoted her life to promoting excellence in education and enhancing US-China relations, she embodied the spirit of the love of learning in this university community," Dr. Chao, an industrialist, said of his late wife, a scholar in Asian history and literature. "I would like to dedicate this contribution to memorialize and honor my beloved wife and soul mate."

The Honorable Elaine L. Chao (MBA 1979), US Secretary of Labor from 2001 to 2009, noted: "My mother was a positive, optimistic person who believed in the transformational power of education, regardless of gender, in developing leaders for the world." (Of the family's six daughters, May, Grace, and Angela Chao also attended HBS.) The gift will provide $5 million in financial assistance to deserving MBA students of Chinese heritage, with the remaining $35 million supporting the construction of a new Executive Education classroom facility—The Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center—to replace Kresge Hall, with groundbreaking set for the spring of 2014. "What is also special about this gift is the story of the Chao family," said HBS Dean Nitin Nohria. "They are the embodiment of the American dream, and we are humbled by their generosity."

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