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US businessman donates £50m to former university

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 21/09/2021 Laura Paterson
a sign on the side of a building: Quantum technology © PA Media Quantum technology

The leader of a US private equity firm behind the creation of the UK’s Covid-19 rapid lateral flow tests has donated £50 million to his former university in the UK.

Charles Huang’s gift to the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow is the largest it has received and one of the most generous made to a UK university.

Mr Huang gained his MBA from Strathclyde in 1989 and his PhD in marketing in 1994.

In 2016 he founded California-based private equity firm Pasaca Capital Inc, which has a global focus on investing in innovative technologies and products.

Among its recent ventures is Innova Medical Group, which developed the rapid lateral flow tests used in Covid-19 testing programmes worldwide, including in the UK.

My education at Strathclyde played a critical role in the success of both my career and my businesses

Charles Huang

Mr Huang made the donation through his philanthropic foundation in gratitude for the scholarship which enabled him to study at Strathclyde and in tribute to the university’s former marketing department head Professor Stephen Young, his PhD supervisor and mentor.

Mr Huang said: “I came to the University of Strathclyde for my MBA in August 1988 under a scholarship from the British Council for international students and I’m forever grateful of the UK for that life-changing opportunity.

“My education at Strathclyde played a critical role in the success of both my career and my businesses.

“This gift is to show my gratitude to Strathclyde and to support those who have yet to embark on their studies.”


Gallery: From rags to riches, then he gave it all away (Lovemoney)

The gift was made at a ceremony on campus on Tuesday.

More than half of the donation, £30 million, will pay for a new building named after Mr Huang at the university’s technology and innovation zone.

The remainder will create The Stephen Young Institute for International Business, The Stephen Young Global Leaders Scholarship Programme and The Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards.

Prof Young, who died last month, helped establish the university’s marketing department – one of the first in the UK – in 1971.

Strathclyde Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald said: “We are incredibly grateful to Dr Charles Huang for this exceptionally generous gift.

Philip Hammond wearing a suit and tie: University of Strathclyde pricipal Professor Sir Jim McDonald (left) with former chancellor Philip Hammond (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive) © Provided by Evening Standard University of Strathclyde pricipal Professor Sir Jim McDonald (left) with former chancellor Philip Hammond (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)

“A donation of this scale will make a huge difference to our students, our research, and our innovation.”

He added: “Charles’ generous gift will also have an enormous impact on Glasgow and Scotland with the construction of the next phase of our technology and innovation zone, which is creating jobs, attracting industrial partners and inward investment, and developing future generations of graduates and postgraduates.”

Sir Jim said Mr Huang is “demonstrating how inspirational teaching and support leaves a positive mark for decades to come” in highlighting the role Prof Young played in his life.

Prof Young’s daughter, Juliette Young, said her family is “delighted” at the recognition of their father’s “outstanding academic career and legacy”, adding: “We would like to express our gratitude and thanks to the Charles Huang Foundation for remembering our father in this way.”

Large donations made to UK universities by individuals include author JK Rowling’s two-part £25.3 million gift to fund the creation University of Edinburgh’s Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic and research there into the treatment of multiple sclerosis and similar conditions.

It is named in memory of her mother, who died with the condition aged 45.

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