For the Cherngs, making a $30 million gift to name and endow the Andrew and Peggy Cherng Department of Medical Engineering at Caltech was a matter of heart and mind. During more than four decades working as business owners and entrepreneurs in Pasadena, they have developed a strong appreciation for the institutions and people who call this city home.
"We always thought of Caltech as a shining star of Pasadena," says trustee Peggy Cherng, cochair and co-CEO of Panda Restaurant Group, Inc.
The Cherngs have a keen interest in the pioneering work of Caltech's scientists and engineers, from planetary explorations conducted in partnership with JPL to climate dynamics research using robotic ocean gliders. But the couple elected to focus their personal philanthropy on medical engineering because, as Peggy Cherng explains, "In between the sky and the sea, Caltech is also uniquely positioned to make a difference for humans on earth."
Caltech's medical engineers apply multidisciplinary engineering principles in the health sphere to design and fabricate devices and systems for translational medicine—including diagnostics, therapeutics, implants, and non-invasive imaging—that will lead to cheaper, more effective, and more accessible health care.