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Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center: HBS’s 1st Female-Named Building, 54 Years After the School’s 1st Female Student

May 24, 2016

In 2012, Chao family foundations made a generous gift to Harvard Business School (HBS).

The funds were primarily to be used to cover construction costs for a new 90,000 square foot executive center on the HBS campus. The gift was made 50 years after the first female student was admitted to study at HBS.

Next month, on June 6, 2016, Harvard leadership and the Chao family will celebrate with friends, dignitaries, government, private officials and members of an international press corps — as the doors open on this modern educational facility, bearing the name of the late Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, a champion of access to education. The fact that the building will be making history twice over, by being the first on the HBS campus to bear the name of a woman and also of a Chinese-American, is the most fitting way to honor Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, who, with her husband, Dr. James Si-Cheng Chao, worked tirelessly to elevate the status of people of Chinese descent in the eyes of the world.

Ruth Mulan Chu Chao was a strong voice for the importance and power of education, not only within the family home, but also within the Asian community at large. It is a fitting tribute to have her name grace a new facility that will serve as unique space for education, information, cultural exchange and synergy between HBS students—MBA, doctoral and executive—and the thousands of international students who attend the Executive Education programs at the School each year.

Last June, the Chao family was very happy to participate in the traditional ‘topping-off’ ceremony, which marked the conclusion of the exterior work on the executive center. One year on, the facility has been completed and the HBS campus will be alive again with speeches, celebrations, a luncheon and the sharing of many personal memories of the late Ruth Mulan Chu Chao.

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