A Generous Gift
2015-01-09 2145

By University of Dayton


It's a gift that's going around the world. Fuyao Glass America Inc. and the University of Dayton announced Friday, Jan. 9, that the company has made a $7 million gift to support the University of Dayton China Institute.

The announcement was made in an on-campus ceremony, just a few miles from where Fuyao is transforming a former General Motors assembly plant into a $250 million state-of-the-art automotive glass manufacturing facility.

The gift will go toward purchase of the five-story, 68,000-square-foot building housing the China Institute, which opened in 2012 in the Suzhou Industrial Park, one of the fastest-growing innovation parks in the world.

"We are immensely grateful to Chairman Cao and pleased to enter into this relationship, which solidifies the University of Dayton's presence in China and our growing international reputation," University of Dayton President Daniel J. Curran said. "With this gift, we can continue to expand our academic, research and development, and innovation programs.

"Looking into the future, this gift will benefit generations of UD students, offering them an unparalleled, affordable international experience. It will also benefit students in China, giving them access to a first-rate American university where they can develop an international perspective."

Fuyao Glass Group Chairman Dewang Cao, who founded the company in 1987 and is one of the most respected entrepreneurs in the world, said education and fostering understanding are top priorities for him.

"The ultimate goal of our endeavors is to achieve harmony among people," Cao said. "The University of Dayton China Institute has the potential to become a center of international goodwill, where people from all over the world come to learn and work together.

"That is important and valuable work, and we would like to play a part in making it happen."

Fuyao Glass America Inc. will collaborate with the University of Dayton and its China Institute in the areas of research and development, technology and management, developing new technology and improving management effectiveness.

Fuyao Glass America Inc. President John Gauthier signed the agreement on behalf of the company, which became the biggest Chinese investor in Ohio and the largest Chinese auto parts enterprise in the U.S. last year when the manufacturer launched the redevelopment of the shuttered Moraine, Ohio, plant. It expects to hire a workforce of about 1,000 and begin production this summer.

In December, U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus joined Curran in opening an American Cultural Center at UDCI, one of only 20 such centers funded by the U.S. State Department in China and the first to be established outside the campus of a Chinese university. Center programs will focus on activities that bring Americans and Chinese together to explore U.S. culture, society, government, language, law, economic systems and values.

"In just a few years, the University of Dayton China Institute has become an established and respected educational institution in the Suzhou Industrial Park," said SIP Chairman Zhiping Yang. "We are looking forward to many years of partnership with the University as well as developing a strong relationship with Fuyao."

SIP made a multimillion-dollar investment in renovating the building for classrooms, laboratories and project space for UDCI, primarily because of the University's strong ties in China and the School of Engineering's track record in innovation and product development. SIP officials allowed the University to use the building rent-free for three years and have provided some operational funds, while the University has paid a monthly management fee.

Cao is known as one of the most generous and influential philanthropists in China, focusing his 6 billion-RMB (about $1 billion) gifts on education, disaster relief, poverty alleviation and traditional culture heritage. Cao was named Ernst and Young's 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year, for his spirit of innovation, and for his commitment to social responsibility.

Perennially at the top of China's "most admired company" list, the multinational firm has grown into the largest manufacturer of auto glass in China, supplying glass for the world’s leading automotive companies such as GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, BMW and Mercedes.

UDCI's programs offer business, engineering, humanities and science courses to American, Chinese and international students. Students have opportunities to participate in corporate-sponsored research and development projects, and internships.

The institute also offers professional training courses in communications, engineering, project and business management, technology and technical English to Chinese professionals in the industrial park and the Suzhou area.

UDCI's first semester-long program will start in January, with 30 students from the University and other schools taking courses in arts, business, engineering, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. University of Dayton students may take advantage of the opportunity at no additional cost relative to a semester on campus, and summer programs are also available.