Chancellor's Friday Letters

Multi-talented donor pays a visit

Multi-talented donor pays a visit

January 28, 2011

Dear Friends,

Monday was a remarkable day at the University of California, Riverside.

Actually, everyday is remarkable here, but this one especially so.  It was a day to step above the issues of the moment, and imagine what can be when someone paints a big, bright picture of the future.

Also, it was a day when our students made me very proud, a point I’ll come back to in a minute.

The person who prompted this was our prominent guest, Winston Chung, who visited from Hong Kong to formalize his commitment to invest $10 million in the Bourns College of Engineering.  His interest and passion are to promote innovations in producing, storing and using renewable clean energy.

Winston Chung is a fascinating man who started his life in medicine, and from the lessons learned there – principally with ion exchanges in blood – pursued a new approach to batteries that has transformed the world’s ability to use electrical power when it is needed, and not waste it when it is produced.

I wish to share with you my observations and our conversation as we walked across campus together in the mid afternoon.

He was moved by the beauty, cleanliness and orderliness of the campus grounds, buildings and layout.  He thought the weather was spectacular (clear, sunny, 80 degrees), and, while I agree with him, he was probably influenced by his trip to Chicago the prior days with China’s President Hu Jintao, where the temperature was a chilly 20 degrees!

Back to our students.

An especially inspiring part for me was stopping to introduce Winston to the many students that we ran into along the way.

At first I saw a bit of puzzlement: … Hey that’s the Chancellor. … Who is that guy with him? … Who are all these people with cameras and microphones? … What is the Chancellor up to?

Within a few seconds of introductions, our students were shaking Mr. Chung’s hand, and through a translator, without batting an eye, they volunteered that what he and his company are doing in energy and with our campus is great, cool, awesome, and inspiring.

They looked him in the eye, told him proudly about their studies, their dreams, and living their promise on our campus.

They were men and women students from many ethnic and racial backgrounds – Asian American, Caucasian, African American, Middle Eastern, and Hispanic/Latino – and came from every undergraduate level in humanities, arts, social sciences, engineering, the life and physical sciences, and business.

Not surprising to me, but enormously gratifying, were his private comments on how impressed and rather stunned he was by our students.  They left an indelible impression on him. How special he thought they are; how ambitious, bright, and aspirational.

He also was pleased and surprised to learn of our commitment to not only challenge and stretch our students in every dimension, but also to provide enormous student support so that every student willing to do the work can be successful.

In other words, he saw, felt and touched the UCR advantage in our students and in our approach to their learning.

I think the interactions with our students reminded Winston of his youth.  He was an innovator from the beginning. He invented a pulse meter at age 12.  At 13, he began to study traditional Chinese medicine and pharmacology. He published a medical monograph when he was 16.  At 17, he invented a 3-in-1 television system; at 24 the maintenance-free lead-acid battery; at 31 the plastic lithium-ion rechargeable battery, and at age 37 the waterborne adhesive lithium-ion rechargeable battery.

Earlier this century, Winston Chung discovered the rare earth element lithium yttrium rechargeable battery, and soon thereafter the rare earth element lithium-sulfur rechargeable battery, which is the most advanced battery technology in the world.

His visit and commitment to us are good news on a variety of fronts for this campus, and for the region, state, nation and world that we serve. Learn more:
http://newsroom.ucr.edu/news_item.html?action=page&id=2532 .

With best wishes,


Tim White, Chancellor

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A Deluge of Gratitude
At the beginning of the month I wrote about the extraordinary efforts of our staff to protect the campus during the December storms.  You responded with hundreds of letters of thanks, and I presented them to our valued and appreciative employees over pizza and pop. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts.  It meant a lot to me, and to our employees.

Find out what else is going on at UC Riverside: http://www.ucr.edu/happenings/

More Information

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