The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has received a $5 million gift from Hong Kong-based philanthropist and businessman David Mong. The gift, the largest single donation UCLA ever has received from Asia or from an alumnus based outside of the U.S., supports construction of the Engineering VI building, which, when complete, will be the school's new 150,000-square-foot anchor for engineering innovation.
In recognition of the gift, a 250-seat facility within Engineering VI will be named the Dr. William M. W. Mong Memorial Learning Center. The name is in honor of Mong's father, a leader in education, public service and international relations and the founder of Hong Kong-based Shun Hing Group.
"UCLA Engineering has embarked on a major upgrade to our educational and research facilities, and David Mong's extraordinary contribution will play a critical role in educating generations of UCLA engineers," said Vijay K. Dhir, dean of UCLA Engineering. "It is wonderful to have dedicated alumni such as Mr. Mong invest in the future of the school that gave them their starts."
The Dr. William M. W. Mong Memorial Learning Center will be a centerpiece of Engineering VI, serving as a hub for UCLA Engineering events, distance-learning activities and collaboration with other engineering and research institutions in the United States and beyond.
"As a UCLA Engineering alumnus, I am pleased to support the construction of the Dr. William M. W. Mong Memorial Learning Center within Engineering VI," David Mong said. "We hope that in the years and decades ahead, Dr. Mong's legacy will continue to impact lives for the better, far and wide."
The building will be located near the center of the UCLA campus, and just a short walk from the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Pauley Pavilion and the planned Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference and Guest Center.
In addition to the learning center, the building will house three federally funded centers of excellence in the fields of nanoelectronics and sustainable energy; state-of-the-art laboratories for research into new materials for use in industrial and commercial applications; information science and technology labs; faculty and administrative offices; and the entrepreneurial arm of the engineering school, the Institute for Technology Advancement.
Work on the $130 million project — which also has received financial support from other private donors and the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology — began in 2012. The first phase of construction is scheduled for completion in 2015. The second phase, which will incorporate the Dr. William M. W. Mong Memorial Learning Center, is in the planning stages.
David Mong, who received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from UCLA in 1984, is vice chairman of the Shun Hing Group.
Founded by William Mong in 1953, the Shun Hing Group started as the authorized distributor in Hong Kong and Macau of electronic products made by Panasonic (previously known as the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.). Shun Hing was an early champion of the use of electrical goods to ease the traditional burdens of domestic life in Hong Kong, and became famous for helping to develop and market rice cookers sold in Asia and around the world. Today, the company employs more than 1,800 people in the fields of electronics, logistics, engineering, telecommunications, business equipment and property management. The firm also has an active charitable arm, the Shun Hing Education and Charity Fund.
"We owe our very existence to the communities that sustain our business and we never forget that social responsibility is a cornerstone of our corporate responsibilities," David Mong said.
The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, established in 1945, offers 28 academic and professional degree programs and has an enrollment of more than 5,000 students. The school's distinguished faculty are leading research to address many of the critical challenges of the 21st century, including renewable energy, clean water, health care, wireless sensing and networking, and cybersecurity. Ranked among the top 10 engineering schools at public universities nationwide, the school is home to eight multimillion-dollar interdisciplinary research centers in wireless sensor systems, wireless health, nanoelectronics, nanomedicine, renewable energy, customized computing, the smart grid, and the Internet, all funded by federal and private agencies and individual donors.