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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Cover Story

A grad's generous thank you to PLU

$4 million gift to Pacific Lutheran University to create the Wang Center for International Programs will give university faculty, students and staff a bigger window on the rest of the world. Peter Wang's generous gift to his alma mater–one of the largest ever made to PLU–is his way of paying a dividend on an investment the university made in him 44 years ago.

That's when PLU gave Wang a full scholarship to attend the university. In 1957, university administrators took a chance on Wang, a newly arrived Chinese immigrant with limited English skills. He didn't let them down. Wang says his professors recognized his academic potential, encouraged him in his studies and gave him hope.

Since graduating from PLU in 1960, Wang, who majored in math and physics, has succeeded notably in a number of diverse, challenging areas. He earned a doctorate in probability theory, became a university professor and developed probability theory-based threat forecasting methods for the Defense Department. When Wang left academia in the 1980s, he started international trading companies and successfully invested in real estate.

Wang's gift will establish an endowment allowing the university to significantly strengthen its international education program and provide more opportunities for students to study abroad. When the Wang Center opens next year, it will host public forums and sponsor research on international issues. Although the center's initial focus will probably be on China and the Pacific Rim, other important areas of the world such as the Middle East could eventually be added.

Wang's gift is also timely. Too many Americans have been oblivious to the concerns and deadly passions that drive the rest of the world. But the events of Sept. 11 and their aftermath show that Americans must come out of their shells and develop a deeper understanding of the forces-both benign and threatening-swirling beyond our borders.

The Wang Center will help deepen that understanding both within the university and beyond the campus in the larger community.




Pacific Lutheran University Scene
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