The Morningside Group, founded by Dr. Ronnie and Dr. Gerald Chan, like the Morningside Foundation, aims to improve the lives of many through scientific research and innovation of biotech and other sciences in Asia and the United States. The brothers’ combined worth puts them at #17 in Forbes’ 2014 list of Hong Kong’s richest people, worth nearly $3 billion.
In what’s a rare move for Harvard, T.H. Chan will join John F. Kennedy as the only other person to have a school within the university bear a person’s name. The school will be known as the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
One of his sons, Dr. Gerald Chan is quoted saying, “I think he would have been very pleased…that the school would be part of his legacy.” He went on to describe his father as one who always helped family and friends pay for their schooling. “It was very much in keeping with how he lived his life and what he held to be important,” said Chan, who himself earned a master’s degree at this school back in 1979.
The gracious donation comes to Harvard with no restrictions. The funding is to support efforts such as loan forgiveness for graduates, new classrooms, unique research, financial aid for students, and so much more.
Harvard Dean Julio Freng was quoted saying, “We can apply it to the priorities of the moment and those priorities that are likely to evolve because public health is a very dynamic field.” He also called the donation “transformational.”
This new donation knocks out of the park what was previously the largest donation Harvard had received. Alumnus and hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin had gifted the school $150 million, most of it for financial aid, earlier this year.
Worth noting, some of the research conducted at the school has led to the development of stricter Clean Air Act regulations, the Designated Driver Campaign to prevent drunk driving, and bans on trans fats after their studies had shown they increase the risk of heart disease.
(Photo courtesy of Matthias Rosenkranz)