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Harvard Business School

In honor of the family’s beloved Mother and her lifelong mission to improve higher education, the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center is being built on Harvard Business School’s campus. Striving to produce the next generation of leaders, the Chao family along with the HBS community, take great pleasure in this addition to the campus.

The ceremony marking the start of the project was held on April 24, 2014 with a number of distinguished guests in attendance. Included in the attendees was China’s ambassador to the United States the Honorable Cui Tiankai, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, former Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd, among others. Representing the Chao family was Dr. James S.C. Chao, whose dedication to the pursuit of higher learning has made this new endeavor possible.

The new center which aims to serve the 10,000 students in the Executive Education program has been made possible through the generous efforts of Chao Family Foundations. The new building at the center of the Harvard Business School campus will replace the facilities of Kresge Hall, giving students a new range of services. The groundbreaking ceremony comes as HBS marks its 50th anniversary of admitting women through its doors. As the first building on the Harvard campus to be named for both a woman and an American of Chinese descent, this project truly breaks down barriers with its celebration of progress at HBS.

The decision to embark on the building of the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center was sparked from the Chao family’s continued dedication to the mission of Harvard Business School. The family has developed a strong relationship over the years with the HBS community, with four of the Chao family’s daughters having attended the institution. The Chao women to have been graduated from HBS are the Honorable Elaine Chao who served as the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Ms. May Chao former New York State Commissioner of the Consumer Protection Agency, Dr. Grace Chao who went on to earn her PhD at Columbia in Anthropology, and Angela Chao who is the Deputy Chair of the Foremost Group, the international shipping firm founded by Dr. and Mrs. Chao.

The Chao family is proud to have taken part in the establishment of this new building honoring the late Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao. As a strong supporter of the value of higher education, Mrs. Chao was a driving force in pushing her daughters to strive for greatness through academic achievement. In celebrating the heritage of the land of her birth and her connection with the United States where she raised her family and made her life, Ruth was a constant advocate for strengthening ties between the two countries. By sponsoring institutions of higher learning through the Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu and Dr. James S.C. Chao Family Foundation, the Chao family honors the blessed memory of their beloved wife and mother through the patronage of great educational works both here in the US as well as in China and all over the world.

To celebrate the Chao’s generous gift to the Harvard Business School, a website was designed by portraying a timeline of the family’s history. Rare photographs, that go back generations, are displayed for public viewing.

Speaking on the significance of the Chao family’s connection with the HBS community, Angela Chao told attendees that, ‘My family and Harvard Business School have had a remarkable relationship spanning four decades. We are so pleased to be able to further the School’s work of educating leaders who make a difference in the world while at the same time honoring our mother—the woman who inspired us with her selflessness and courage.


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