Harvard University and Harvard Business School have received a $40 million gift from a Dr. James Si-Cheng Chao and Family Foundation. The gift was given in tribute to the life and legacy of the late Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, beloved matriarch of this most prominent and accomplished Chinese-American family. It will support both students in the Master in Business Administration (MBA) program and participants in the School’s Executive Education programs. The Chao family — the only one in the School’s history to have had four daughters attend — poignantly made their gift during the 50th anniversary celebration of women in Harvard’s full–time MBA program and the 375th anniversary of Harvard University.
“Ruth and I had an extraordinary life for 60 years before she returned to the Lord,” Dr. James S. C. Chao said. “I am eternally grateful for the unconditional love, trust and confidence she showed in me throughout our life and for always supporting and encouraging me in all our endeavors. Because Ruth devoted her life to promoting excellence in education and enhancing U.S.-China cultural exchanges, she embodied the spirit of the love of learning in this university community. I would like to dedicate this contribution to memorialize and honor my beloved wife and soul mate, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao.”
The Honorable Elaine L. Chao (HBS MBA ’79), U.S. Secretary of Labor from 2001 to 2009 and the first Asian-American woman ever appointed to the President’s cabinet in American history, noted: “My mother was an incredibly inspiring person. She was a positive, optimistic person who believed in the transformational power of education regardless of gender in developing leaders for the world. Throughout our formative years, she always emphasized our responsibility to contribute to society and being kind and generous to others.”
“My family and Harvard Business School have had a remarkable relationship spanning four decades,” said Angela Chao, the youngest daughter of the Chao family (Harvard AB ’95 and HBS MBA ’01). “We are so pleased to be able to further the School’s work of educating leaders who make a difference in the world while at the same time honoring our mother – the woman who inspired us with her selflessness and courage.”