This story originally appeared in UCLA Today, a discontinued publication.

Tony Chan to head university in Hong Kong

Tony Chan, assistant director of the National Science Foundation's largest directorate and a former dean in the College of Letters and Science at UCLA, has been appointed the next president of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Tony Chan at a press conference hosted by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Chan, who has been a UCLA professor of mathematics since 1986 with a joint appointment in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering in computer science and bioengineering, won the unanimous approval of the Hong Kong university's Council on Monday, March 30. He will succeed Professor Paul Chu, who is retiring in August. Chan's appointment, which has a five-year term, takes effect on Sept. 1.

Among his many well-wishers was UCLA Vice Chancellor of Research Roberto Peccei. "This is a wonderful opportunity, and I am sure he will be very successful in this new endeavor," Peccei said. "They are very lucky to have him."

In October 2006, Chan took a temporary leave from his faculty position at UCLA to become the NSF assistant director in charge of its Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate to guide and manage research funding totaling approximately $1 billion a year to support astronomy, physics, chemistry, mathematics, materials science and multidisciplinary activities.

At UCLA, Chan served as dean of the Division of Physical Sciences from 2001 to 2006. During his career here, he also chaired the mathematics department and directed the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics from 2000 to 2001.
"Professor Chan is a rare breed among academics: He is a visionary leader, a preeminent scholar and scientist, and a world-class administrator," said Dr. Marvin Cheung, council chairman.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, he studied at Queen's College before leaving to study at Caltech, where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in engineering. He later earned his Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University. He did postdoctoral research at Caltech and taught computer science at Yale before becoming a UCLA professor of mathematics in 1986.
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