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08/04/2009 07:00:00

Shang-Li and Betty Huang create endowment to support Caltech graduate students

PASADENA, Calif.—Alumnus Shang-Li "S.L." Huang (MS '69, PhD '76) and his wife have pledged $1 million to Caltech to endow the Shang-Li and Betty Huang Endowed Graduate Fellowship Fund in Mechanical Engineering. The gift will be matched by an additional $500,000 from the Gordon and Betty Moore Matching Program.

"This generous gift will assist us in continuing to attract engineering graduate students with exceptional talent and ability. S.L. and Betty have changed lives far into the future with their support," says Ares Rosakis, chair of Caltech's Division of Engineering and Applied Science and the Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering.

"S.L. was my graduate student and did an outstanding PhD thesis back in the 1970s—a thesis whose results are still widely used in the rocket-engine design business," adds Chris Brennen, the Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Caltech. "He and Betty are deeply interested in education—in particular, graduate education. They have been instrumental in rallying support for mechanical engineering at Caltech. We are most grateful for their generous help and advice."

For his part, S.L. believes that graduate school at Caltech shaped his life, laying a foundation for his success in areas beyond engineering and research.  Some of his deepest friendships began when he and a few other students and professors would surface from their labs to share meals, establishing a club they called the Meat and Wine Society. More than three decades later, they still meet. S.L. has also stayed involved with Caltech in more formal ways. He and Betty became life members of the Caltech Associates, have hosted Associates gatherings in Orange County, and have participated in Associates events ranging from dinners with faculty to a tour of Paris, Burgundy, and Lyon. S.L. serves on the board of the Associates and is a life member of the Caltech Alumni Association. He also serves on a special advisory committee for mechanical engineering at Caltech.

The Huangs' gift will make it possible for hundreds of future graduate students to study and live at Caltech, and, perhaps, to form meat and wine societies of their own.

"Betty and I are so glad to have this opportunity to endow this graduate fellowship fund," says S.L. "We have always believed that education is one of the most important tools that we can provide to our next generation. We have only done a small part, and we sincerely hope others will come forward and participate in creating additional endowments to benefit Caltech undergraduates and graduate students—especially in these difficult times."

 About Caltech:
Caltech is recognized for its highly select student body of 900 undergraduates and 1,200 graduate students, and for its outstanding faculty. Since 1923, Caltech faculty and alumni have garnered 32 Nobel Prizes and five Crafoord Prizes. In addition to its prestigious on-campus research programs, Caltech operates the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the W. M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, the Palomar Observatory, and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Caltech is a private university in Pasadena, California. For more information, visit

Written by Jon Weiner