For the first time in its history, the Harvard Business School campus will house a building named after a person of Chinese heritage. In fact, this will also mark the first time an HBS facility bears the name of a woman. The Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Executive Center, which will open its doors on June 6, 2016, is the realization of a vision developed by Harvard and the Chao family several years ago.
In 2012, the Chao Family and their foundations made a donation to cover construction costs of the Center, and also to endow a scholarship program to enable four to six students to attend HBS each year; a particularly appropriate gift, given that four of the Chao daughters graduated from HBS. The Center is named in memory of Angela Chao’s mother and the late beloved wife of Dr. James S.C. Chao, founder of the Foremost Group. Naming the Center in honor of Ruth Mulan Chu Chao will keep alive the flame of her passion for initiatives that strengthen US-China relations, promote understanding and cooperation between people, and empower future leaders through high quality educational programs.
The Center, which has a modern interior but historic exterior designed to blend in seamlessly with the existing HBS campus, covers four floors of teaching, meeting, dining and networking space. It will provide synergistic space to bring together doctoral, MBA and executive HBS students with thousands of international students who arrive on campus each year to participate in Executive Education programs. The Center will facilitate the kind of cross-cultural discussion and building of long-term partnerships envisioned by Ruth Mulan Chu Chao.
The grand opening is expected to be a historic day on the HBS campus, attended by the Chao family, Harvard leadership, faculty and students, an international press corps and many other US and foreign dignitaries.