Strathclyde Uni gets £50m from grateful graduate

Charles Huang (left) and Professor Jim McDonald

The University of Strathclyde has received a £50 million donation from alumnus Charles Huang PhD through his philanthropic foundation — the largest gift the university has ever received.

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

He is founder and chairman of Pasaca Capital Inc, a California-based private equity firm established in 2016 with a global focus on investing into innovative technologies and products.

Strathclyde said the donation has been made as a token of gratitude to the UK for the scholarship that facilitated Huang’s opportunity to be educated at Strathclyde.

Huang is also seeking to honour Professor Stephen Young, a former Department of Marketing Head and Huang’s supervisor and mentor during his PhD studies.

“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,” said Huang.

“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.”

£30 million of the gift will support the construction of a new building named after Charles Huang in the University’s Technology and Innovation Zone in the heart of Glasgow City Innovation District.

The remaining £20 million will enable the creation of The Stephen Young Institute for International Business, The Stephen Young Global Leaders Scholarship Programme and The Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards.

Professor Jim McDonald, the University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor said: “We are incredibly grateful to Dr Charles Huang for this exceptionally generous gift.

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

“The University of Strathclyde has been transforming lives for more than 200 years and to see one of our own return to support future generations is a very significant moment.

“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.

“For Charles to celebrate the impact that Strathclyde made on his career makes this very special to the entire University community.

“In highlighting the role that Professor Stephen Young had in shaping his future, Charles is demonstrating how inspirational teaching and support leaves a positive mark for decades to come.”

Professor Young was a pioneer in the field of marketing and helped establish the University’s Department of Marketing – one of the first in the UK – in 1971. He died in August.

One of Pasaca’s most successful recent ventures is Innova Medical Group which developed the rapid lateral flow tests which are integral to many COVID-19 testing programmes around the world, including in the UK.

Professor David Hillier, Dean of Strathclyde Business School, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Dr Huang for his support and the donation will revolutionise our work in the Business School.

“Professor Stephen Young inspired generations of students and this gift will allow the university to create new opportunities for future generations.

“Stephen’s name will live on thanks to the generosity of Charles.”

Professor Young’s daughter, Juliette Young, said: “We are delighted that our late father’s outstanding academic career and legacy will be further recognised through the Professor Stephen Young Institute for International Business, the Professor Stephen Young Global Leaders Scholarship Programme and the Professor Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards.

“We would like to express our gratitude and thanks to the Charles Huang Foundation for remembering our father in this way.”