University of Strathclyde alumnus' £50M largest-ever gift is set to transform lives

Dr Charles Huang and Professor Sir Jim McDonald on the steps of the Technology & innovation Centre

The University of Strathclyde has received a £50M donation from alumnus Charles Huang PhD through his philanthropic foundation - the largest gift Strathclyde has ever received.

Dr Huang gained his MBA from Strathclyde in 1989 and his PhD in Marketing in 1994. He is a global business leader and founder and chairman of Pasaca Capital Inc, a California-based private equity firm established in 2016 with a global focus on investing into innovative technologies and products.

The donation is made as a token of gratitude to the UK for the scholarship that facilitated Dr Huang’s opportunity to be educated at Strathclyde and he also seeks to honour Professor Stephen Young, a former Head of the Department of Marketing and Dr Huang’s supervisor and mentor during his PhD studies.

Critical role

“I came to the University of Strathclyde for my MBA in August 1988 under a scholarship from the British Council for international students and I’m forever grateful of the UK for that life-changing opportunity,” said Dr Huang. “My education at Strathclyde played a critical role in the success of both my career and my businesses. This gift is to show my gratitude to Strathclyde and to support those who have yet to embark on their studies.”  

The gift will enable the University to grow its collaborative work with business, industry and the public sector to tackle major challenges of our time, develop the next generation of students, and support Scotland and the UK’s recovery from the pandemic.

In addition, £30M of the transformational gift will support the construction of a new building named after Dr Charles Huang in the University’s Technology and Innovation Zone in the heart of Glasgow City Innovation District.  The remaining £20M will enable the creation of The Stephen Young Institute for International Business, The Stephen Young Global Leaders Scholarship Programme and The Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards, all of which will stimulate business creation and support the economy.

The gift was made officially at a ceremony on the University campus earlier today.

Transforming lives

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, the University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor said: “We are incredibly grateful to Dr Charles Huang for this exceptionally generous gift. A donation of this scale will make a huge difference to our students, our research, and our innovation. 

 “The University of Strathclyde has been transforming lives for more than 200 years and to see one of our own return to support future generations is a very significant moment.  

Charles’ generous gift will also have an enormous impact on Glasgow and Scotland with the construction of the next phase of our Technology and Innovation Zone, which is creating jobs, attracting industrial partners and inward investment, and developing future generations of graduates and postgraduates. 

“For Charles to celebrate the impact that Strathclyde made on his career makes this very special to the entire University community. In highlighting the role that Professor Stephen Young had in shaping his future, Charles is demonstrating how inspirational teaching and support leaves a positive mark for decades to come.”   

Marketing pioneer

Professor Young was a pioneer in the field of Marketing and helped establish the University’s Department of Marketing – one of the first in the UK – in 1971.  Very sadly, he passed away in August of this year.

One of Pasaca’s most successful recent ventures is Innova Medical Group which developed the rapid lateral flow tests which are integral to many COVID-19 testing programmes around the world, including in the UK. 

Professor David Hillier, Dean of Strathclyde Business School, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Dr Huang for his support and the donation will revolutionise our work in the Business School. Professor Stephen Young inspired generations of students and this gift will allow the University to create new opportunities for future generations. Stephen’s name will live on thanks to the generosity of Charles.”  

Professor Young’s daughter, Juliette Young, said: “We are delighted that our late father's outstanding academic career and legacy will be further recognised through the Stephen Young Institute for International Business, the Stephen Young Global Leaders Scholarship Programme and the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards.   

“We would like to express our gratitude and thanks to the Charles Huang Foundation for remembering our father in this way.”