UC Berkeley alumni in Taiwan pledge $15 million toward construction of new East Asian Studies Library

by Robert Sanders

Berkeley -- Taiwanese alumni and friends of the University of California at Berkeley have pledged a total of $15 million toward the construction of a new East Asian Library and Studies Center, Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien announced today.

The donation -- 400 million New Taiwanese dollars (NT 400 million) from the Alumni and Friends of UC Berkeley in Taiwan -- is the largest international gift in the campus's history, and reflects the strong historic ties between UC Berkeley and the Pacific Rim.

"This gift from our alumni and friends will help strengthen the exchange of students and scholars across the Pacific Ocean, which is one of the surest and most important paths to greater understanding between East and West," Tien said. "Increasing academic interaction can narrow the cultural gap so that the Pacific Rim will be poised to emerge as a leading force in the next century."

"We are honored to be affiliated with the new East Asian Library and Studies Center," said Dr. Mao Kao-Wen, president of the Cal Alumni Club of Taiwan. "This facility will serve as a tangible symbol of Berkeley's leadership throughout the Pacific Rim and of the great value that the Taiwanese people place upon higher education."

One of the world's most comprehensive collections of Asian-language books and library materials, UC Berkeley's East Asian Library houses some 700,000 volumes in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Manchu, Mongolian and Tibetan. Among its noted collections are 2,700 Chinese inscription rubbings, 2,200 early Japanese sheet maps, and the largest comprehensive collection on contemporary China -- the Center for Chinese Studies Library.

Despite being the principal resource for East Asian research and teaching in the nine-campus UC system, half its collection is in storage or is housed off-campus. Construction of new quarters will unite the library and related teaching and research in the center of the campus near the Campanile.

"Berkeley, rated number one in the nation in East Asian studies, owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to its alumni on Taiwan, who have donated a gift of $15 million to build this new East Asian Studies Library," said historian Frederic Wakeman, director of UC Berkeley's Institute for East Asian Studies and the Haas Professor of Asian Studies. "The building is being designed for the research, teaching and information needs of the 21st century, when it will serve as California's academic bridge to the countries of the Pacific Rim."

The gift brings the campus nearly two-thirds of the way to its goal of raising $35 million for the East Asian Library and Studies Center. Earlier this year the Starr Foundation in New York donated $6 million toward construction of the center, and other gifts have brought the total to appoximately $22 million.


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