Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
MIT has recently announced a gift of $4.7 from the Tang family of California and Hong Kong. The Tangs, who have been represented at MIT for three generations, have designated the funds for two purposes: $3.5 million will go toward the construction of the Jack C. Tang Center for Management Education, and $1.2 million will be added to the Tang Scholarship Fund at MIT. This addition will bring the total of the Tang scholarship endowment to $2.7 million, making it one of the largest scholarship funds at MIT.
The new Jack C. Tang Center, a planned four-story addition to Building E51 at the corner of Amherst and Wadsworth Streets, will be used primarily by the Sloan School of Management and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. It will house a 300-seat auditorium, three case-method classrooms of 90-100 seats each, a student-faculty lounge and a number of smaller rooms that will serve as student study and meeting spaces and interview rooms for students and recruiters.
"The Tangs have once again made a most generous gift to MIT and to education. They have been wonderful friends for many years," said MIT President Charles M. Vest in announcing the gift. "It is heartening to know that the family shares so deeply our commitment to scholarship and teaching, and we are very grateful."
Lester Thurow, dean of the Sloan School, says of the proposed center, "Team teaching and student collaboration have become very important to management education over the past decade. Until now, however, our students lacked the facilities to meet and work together easily. I think we are going to look back on the Tang gift as one of the best investments for our students."
Ping Yuan Tang, the first in the family to attend MIT, received an SB degree in management in 1923. He returned to his native Shanghai and built up a conglomerate in textiles, cement and flour. Forced to flee China in 1948, he went to Hong Kong and established the South Sea Textile Manufacturing Company.
His son, Jack C. Tang, graduated from MIT in 1949 with an SB in chemical engineering. A prominent business leader in Hong Kong, he succeeded to the chairmanship of South Sea Textile at his father's death in 1971. He has been chairman of the MIT Club of Hong Kong and a member of the MIT Corporation Development Committee and has been active in fundraising for MIT in Asia.
His son, Martin Y. Tang, who earned an SM degree in management from MIT in 1972, represents the third Tang generation at MIT. After serving as a second lieutenant in the US Army, Martin Tang worked in San Francisco and in Taipei before returning to Hong Kong. He is now managing director of executive search consultants Spencer Stuart in Hong Kong. He has been president of the MIT Club of Hong Kong and secretary of the MIT Club of Taiwan and has served as an Educational Counselor.
In the early 1970s, Jack Tang, with his mother and siblings, donated in Ping Yuan Tang's memory the Tang Residence Hall, the 24-story graduate dormitory on MIT's West Campus. In 1986, he established the Tang Scholarship Fund for needy students of Chinese descent with a gift of $1.5 million. The recent $1.2 million addition to the Tang Fund is designated for the support of any undergraduates in need.
Jack Tang's daughters, Leslie Tang Schilling, who graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, and Nadine Tang, who graduated from Boston University and also attended UC Berkeley, have also been instrumental in the family's decision to support MIT. Ms. Schilling is a real estate developer in San Francisco and Ms. Tang is a social worker in the counseling center at Mills College. Both are active in community cultural, educational and business groups in the San Francisco area. In appreciation for their education at the University of California, the Tang family has also pledged a $4 million gift to Berkeley.
"Our family has always believed in giving back to the community," says Leslie Tang Schilling. "It is our hope that our gift to MIT will encourage others to be generous to MIT in their turn."
A version of this article appeared in the January 27, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 20).