Drs. Peter ('60) and Grace Wang
By Greg Brewis
On December 7, members of the PLU
community gathered at the Scandinavian Cultural Center to celebrate
a donation that will continue PLU's growing tradition of international
education. A $4 million gift from a Pacific Lutheran University
graduate and his wife will fund the development of an international
education center at PLU.
Peter and Grace Wang established
The Wang Center for International Programs at PLU to prepare
students to be leaders in the global economy and to be advocates
for world peace.
"PLU has held a special place
in my life," said Peter Wang '60. "The university
provided me with a full scholarship when I attended. I haven't
forgotten that my educational career began there. This is our
way of saying thanks."
Their dream and vision has been
to establish through the Wang Center a program focused on investigative
learning and research in world peace through global understanding-a
program that will help promote mutual understanding among nations
University President Loren J. Anderson said the gift will propel
PLU's already strong programs in international education to
new levels of distinction.
"At PLU we have long recognized
the importance of giving students the opportunity to expand
their understanding of humanity's global condition," Anderson
said. "The Wang Center will build on that commitment, enabling
us to educate a new generation of global leaders who will be
fully prepared to understand and, indeed, shape the global economy
and environment. This new generation of leaders will first and
foremost be ambassadors and advocates for a peaceful and peace-filled
"PLU HAS HELD A
SPECIAL PLACE IN MY LIFE. THE UNIVERSITY PROVIDED ME WITH
A FULL SCHOLARSHIP WHEN I ATTENDED. I HAVEN'T FORGOTTEN
THAT MY EDUCATIONAL CAREER BEGAN THERE. THIS IS OUR WAY
OF SAYING THANKS."
The Wang Center, the first named
academic center at PLU, will be fully operational for the 2002-03
academic year. It will:
and work to strengthen the university's rich array of internationally
focused academic programs and courses.
Organize and focus
the university's nationally ranked study abroad programs so
that more PLU sponsored opportunities will be offered and
more students participate.
Become a dynamic
research institute that will support faculty and bring together
students and faculty for the exploration of global issues,
both historical and contemporary.
Offer a public
education effort that will include regular symposia and forums
on campus as well as reports and publications that share,
broadly, new insights and findings.
Peter, 64, and
Grace, 63, are first-generation Americans who are natives
of Taiwan and China. They live in Pebble Beach, Calif., and
have three grown children.
A celebration: Peter Wang and President Anderson
congratulate Katie Berkedal '03, who spoke at the announcement
ceremony. Seated are MaryAnn Anderson and Grace Wang.
Peter Wang graduated from PLU with
degrees in math and physics. He earned a Ph.D. in probability
theory at Wayne State University, where he began his teaching
career. Later he held professorships in mathematics and statistics
at Michigan State, Iowa and Stanford universities. In 1970,
he began a 14-year teaching career in mathematics and national
security affairs at Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey,
Calif. He spent much of his academic career teaching half-time
and conducting research the other half on projects sponsored
by the defense department to develop technological threat forecasting
methodology used by national security and intelligence research
Wang is regarded as among the nation's
top researchers in the use of mathematical models and probability
theories for predicting and assessing security threats.
In 1986, he left teaching to establish
several international trade business ventures. Wang also became
a highly regarded entrepreneur and developer of computer-aided
design and computer assisted engineering data handling systems.
He was the first elected board member representing academia
of the national and world computer graphics associations.
Educating a new generation: Peter and Grace Wang
meet with PLU's internation education students.
Grace Wang earned her Ph.D. in
chemistry, also from Wayne State University, and was a college
professor early in her career. She later stepped out of the
classroom to devote herself to raising a family and serving
as a community volunteer and philanthropist.
She plays a key role in the Wang
family's highly successful real estate acquisition and management
interests, serving as investment manager for a large portfolio
of real estate, primarily multifamily complexes.
"Making money isn't everything,"
Peter Wang said. "One of the things that Grace and I decided
early on was to live our lives in the style of a college professor.
Living modestly, you can only spend so much money. That enables
you to use your wealth to make a difference in the world. That
is how we were able to establish the Wang Center and realize