Tell us about a professor who inspired you.
Professor Wen-hsin Yeh taught the first Chinese history class I ever took. I was so moved that before I even completed her class, I changed my major to Asian studies. More importantly, she encouraged me to expand my horizons beyond just books, and to study abroad for a year at Beijing University. That experience transformed my personal and professional life.
Years later, I made my first major gift to Berkeley to establish the Huang Scholars Program, which matched students from any major with language study and internship or research opportunities in Greater China. The program provided a stipend for the students, most of whom could not afford such an experience on their own. This time around, Professor Yeh helped me think through how the program could work. Her influence once again gave even more Cal students a chance to expand their experience beyond the Berkeley campus.
“One of the most powerful things Cal does is transport young geniuses here, teach them fresh ideas, and then funnel their energy into our ecosystem of innovation.” — Charles Huang ’93
How have your values changed since you were a student?
When I was a student activist, I thought of Berkeley as a transformative force in diversity and inclusion. Thirty years later, I also appreciate that it is one of the world’s great institutions for upward economic mobility. For example, my friend Kevin Chou came here from an immigrant family. Berkeley gave him financial aid and access to a great education. He started a company called Kabam, which eventually sold for over $1 billion. Kevin and his wife made a major gift to build Chou Hall at Haas, and he’s now a foundation trustee. His story, and others like it, demonstrate why Berkeley is such an important institution for economic mobility across many generations.
You’ve given to multiple areas on campus. What’s important for you to support?
Berkeley, Silicon Valley — this entire region — is a magical place. One of the most powerful things Cal does is transport young geniuses here, teach them fresh ideas, and then funnel their energy into our ecosystem of innovation.
These days, I’m very interested in programs that bridge the gap between our research excellence and industry. Strong master’s programs can play an important role in this function, serving as a pipeline to Berkeley for a different type of talent — brilliant people who are more focused on industry and entrepreneurship.