Trustee William Fung ’70 has donated $10 million to expand the University’s globalization efforts and bring six international fellows to Princeton beginning next year, the University announced Tuesday.
Fung's gift will create the Fung Global Fellows Program, a postdoctoral fellowship program in the social sciences and humanities administered by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. It will establish the Princeton-Fung Global Forum, an annual academic conference that will hold its inaugural meeting this January in Shanghai.
Vice President for Development Elizabeth Boluch Wood said in an email that the fellowship program and the international conference were just the foundational initiatives for the $10 million gift. "We may be able to build on these programs in the future," Wood said.
Each year, the Global Fellow Program will choose six fellows, who will participate in a weekly public seminar series while conducting research and working on publications. History professor Michael Gordin, who will serve as the program's first director, said the fellowship program is designed to cultivate Princeton's relationships with emerging intellectuals who are "the smartest, most exciting scholars" in their fields.
"We're looking for young, dynamic thinkers," Gordin said in an email. "By bringing some of the best young scholars around the world to Princeton so they can be part of our intellectual community, we in turn can, in the future, continue to deepen those relationships after they return back to their homes."
To be selected as a fellow, the professor must be employed outside the United States and has earned his PhD within the last 10 years. The fellows will not be teaching undergraduates, Gordin noted, but undergraduates are encouraged to attend and participate in the program's public events.
Provost Christopher Eisgruber said in an email that he expects the fellows to interact with undergraduates through seminars, occasional classroom activities and senior thesis research projects. He said the fellowship program will help the University achieve a "significant and growing global presence ... [that will help] strengthen the international networks that undergird the University's study abroad and international internship programs."
The donation will also create the Princeton-Fung Global Forum, an annual conference that will have its inaugural meeting, "The Future of the City," in Shanghai in January 2013. The Forum is intended to provide an academic and intellectual avenue for discussions on globalization, history professor and Forum director Jeremy Adelman explained.
"You get a lot of meetings of bankers and statesmen — the G20, the G8, the World Bank — but there are not that many moments on the calendar where intellectuals get to gather to talk about ideas and discoveries," Adelman said. "The idea is to showcase Princeton's intellectual talent but also to bring intellectual talent from elsewhere in the world to participate in this dialogue."
Fung's donation is part of the Aspire fundraising campaign's "Citizenship and the World" priority. Aspire, which is scheduled to conclude at the end of this month, has raised 99 percent of its $1.75-billion goal, according to its website.
"We are grateful to William Fung for his generous support of our efforts to develop a greater global consciousness," University President Shirley Tilghman said in a statement. "This gift, with its emphasis on bringing important new voices from abroad to Princeton, will enable us to establish stronger ties with scholars and centers of excellence around the world."
Fung is group chairman of Li & Fung, a Hong Kong-based multinational group of export and retail companies that manages the supply chain for retailers and brands in over 40 countries. Fung graduated from the University with a BSE in electrical engineering and went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School before beginning his career at the firm, which was founded by his grandfather.
He and his brother, Victor Fung, donated $15 million to Harvard’s Asia Center in 2006. The donation endowed the directorship of the center, provided discretionary funds for faculty research and created the H.C. Fung Library. It also created $5 million in scholarships for Harvard students at the undergraduate and graduate levels to intern and study in China and for eight selected students from mainland China and Hong Kong to study at Harvard's master's degree programs.
Fung was named to Princeton's Board of Trustees in 2009. In January, Forbes listed the Fung brothers' net worth as $6.2 billion.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/06/19/31034/