06:52 AM

UHD Receives $2 Million Gift from Taiwanese Entrepreneur to Support Students

With his recent gift of $2 million to provide scholarships to students, the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) has established the Dr. Yung-Fa Chang Endowment for Student Grants-In-Aid, in honor of the Taiwanese entrepreneur.

Yung-Fa Chang is a businessman and philanthropist involved in international air and sea shipping ventures and is the founder and group chairman of Evergreen Group, which operates Evergreen Marine and EVA Airways. Several U.S. and foreign universities have awarded Dr. Chang with honorary doctoral degrees for his commitment to higher education and expanding relationships between the United States and Taiwan.

"This generosity from Dr. Chang will significantly increase the number and value of scholarships for students with financial need and academic ability," said William Flores, Ph.D., president of UHD. "More than 80 percent of UHD students qualify for financial aid. Since much of that aid comes in the form of loans, the opportunity to receive scholarship aid can encourage students to complete their education more quickly and reduce the amount of debt they have at graduation."

This month, Dr. Flores; Brian Chapman, Ph.D., UHD senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost; and Johanna Wolfe, UHD vice president for Advancement and External Relations traveled to Taiwan to visit Evergreen Group, the National Immigration Agency and four partnering universities. During the trip, they presented Dr. Chang with a framed proclamation from the City of Houston designating June 19 as Dr. Yung-Fa Chang Day in Houston as recognition of his philanthropy and support of UHD.

Dr. Chang previously contributed $200,000 to the University to establish the Evergreen-Bayou Connection Fund to provide scholarships and faculty exchanges between UHD's Department of Criminal Justice in the College of Public Service and Central Police University in Taiwan. Through Dr. Chang's initial gift, more than 20 UHD graduate students - including 12 from Taiwan - have completed their master's degrees in criminal justice or security management.

"I am an advocate of higher education for people of all nations and all economic conditions," said Dr. Chang. "Education opens doors to opportunities that might not otherwise be possible. I want to offer others an opportunity to fulfill their dreams of improving their personal and professional circumstances by pursuing a college degree and gaining rewarding experiences in life and work, regardless of their economic situation."

Dr. Chang has significant ties to UHD that began in 2005 when Taiwan's former director general of the Ministry of Justice, Investigative Bureau - the equivalent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States - introduced him to a UHD delegation visiting Taiwan. At that time, Dr. Chang agreed to make his first gift to UHD to fund scholarships, thereby paving the way for an international student exchange.

Former UHD President Max Castillo, Ph.D. traveled to Taiwan in 2005 to present Dr. Chang with the President's Medallion, UHD's highest honor recognizing exemplary support of the University.

Both faculty and students at UHD are strongly committed to furthering the University's partnership with Taipei, Taiwan, Houston's first sister city. Hsiao-Ming Wang, Ph.D., an associate professor in UHD's Department of Criminal Justice, established the Bayou Connection Program in 2002 to strengthen international opportunities for students in both cities. To date, more than 100 students of Taiwan's Central Police University have visited UHD and studied at its English Language Institute and numerous UHD students have visited Taiwan through the partnership.

"It is a clear indication of our global community when a Taiwanese businessman makes a gift to a university half-way across the world to provide educational opportunities for our diverse group of Hispanics, African Americans, Caucasians and international students," said Dr. Flores. "His investment in UHD and our students serves as an excellent example of how other businesses can play a major role in educating and equipping the workforce of the future."

About the Evergreen Group:

Dr. Chang established the Evergreen Group in 1968 when he founded Evergreen Marine Corp. (EMC) with just one general cargo ship. For more than four decades, Evergreen Group has expanded its business operations over oceans, continents and skies. In addition to EMC and its associated service companies, the conglomerate also owns EVA Air, Taiwan's first privately run international airline and Evergreen International Hotels. With more than 26,000 employees and approximately 400 offices and agents in more than 90 countries, Evergreen Group is one of the world's leading container carriers.

Dr. Chang established the Chang Yung-Fa Foundation in 1985 to provide emergency and medical aid, as well as promote education and culture. Among its milestones are the formation of the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra, Evergreen Maritime Museum and the launch of Morals Monthly, a journal distributed free of charge to elevate moral standards.