The father of three Boston University alumni has endowed the College of Engineering with a $200,000 fellowship to aid Asian graduate students.
At a Sept. 5 ceremony to honor the benefactor Hing Wah Cheung, the first recipient of the Cheung Graduate Fellowship thanked the Cheung family.
“The fellowship will help me focus on research and study,” said Ting Sun from Dalian, China, who will research robotics in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.
The fellowship is an important kind of gift for the College, said Dean Kenneth R. Lutchen. “Over the past decade, we have propelled ourselves to being among the top research engineering colleges in the nation based partly on the quality of our faculty but also equally because we attract the best graduate students,” he said. “Additionally, having many cultures in a laboratory amplifies the creative energy and perspective.”
This kind of fellowship “helps ensure that we can address cross-disciplinary challenges and move to the next level of excellence,” Lutchen added.
Cheung, the director of Beautiful Enterprise Company, Ltd., in Hong Kong, is known for his philanthropy in Hong Kong as well as in rural China. His association with the University started a decade ago, when his son Wayne (ENG ’99) attended BU, followed by his daughter Wendy (SHA ’02) and son William (ENG ’05).
By endowing this fellowship, Cheung hopes to help Chinese students from “modest backgrounds get a superior education, so they can return and facilitate industrial and educational experiences for people in China,” said Richard Lally, Director of Development and Alumni Relations for the College.
The Cheung Family Graduate Fellowship will help the College recruit the best students in Asia, said Mark N. Horenstein, the associate dean for Graduate Programs and Research at the College of Engineering. “Ting Sun was, by far, the strongest candidate from this year’s applicant pool,” added Horenstein, who headed the selection committee for the fellowship.
Sun, whose undergraduate degree in engineering is from China’s Northeastern University, has four patents on a robot she designed to help train soccer goalies. In addition to showing potential as a top researcher, Horenstein added, she also demonstrated civic sensibilities. While an undergraduate, she taught elementary school children in rural China and also tutored high school English.
The Cheung Family Graduate Fellowship will aid a full-time Asian graduate student who is not only academically outstanding but also invested in philanthropy and giving back to society. Candidates from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand are eligible for the fellowship, which includes tuition, fees and a generous stipend for a year.
“I hope someday I will make contributions to this fabulous school and make my country proud,” Sun said.