Alumnus and trustee Evans Lam has committed $15.7 million to the University of Rochester. The gift will expand resources for undergraduate students and address other needs at the university.
“I am forever grateful to my alma mater for offering me a four-year scholarship to pursue the best education and realize my American dream,” says Lam, managing director of wealth management and senior portfolio manager at UBS Financial Services. “I came to the United States with only $180 to my name.
“The circle of my life started here and when I’m gone, I hope that the education I received and also the work that I’ve done here will come full circle again and again, perpetuated by the people with whom I’ve engaged and who have a shared wish to help this great university improve the lives of others. I hope this gift inspires others to do what they can to support the university.”
The monies are expected to increase the depth of resources for undergraduate business students and faculty at the Simon Business School; expand the role and impact of music at the Eastman School of Music, and provide emergency resources to support undergraduates with immediate needs, officials say. The gift will also fund capital projects for the River Campus Libraries, enhance undergraduate education and help address urgent needs.
“We are exceedingly grateful to Evans—he is an exceptional philanthropist, leader, and champion for our students, faculty, and our broad community,” says Sarah Mangelsdorf, president and G. Robert Witmer Jr. University Professor. “This truly transformational gift builds off the tremendous generosity that Evans has shown to the university for nearly 20 years. During that time, his financial support, along with his volunteer leadership on our Board of Trustees and on many other committees and groups here, has made a significant impact on our university and all those we serve.”
Currently officials say immediate funding has been allocated in the following ways:
■ $3.5 million to establish the Lam e.Hub of Undergraduate Business Engagement at Simon. The gift will fund the creation of a new space for undergraduate business students to gain greater access to Simon’s resources.
■ $1 million for the Evans Lam Research Professor of Music and Medicine at Eastman, a position that will be known as the Lam Professor. This fund is expected to bolster research within the Eastman Performing Arts Medicine program, which aims to deliver the collaborative potential of the performing arts and medicine to the health care environment.
■ $500,000 toward the Lam Caring and Agile Resources for Emergencies Fund. The Lam CARE Fund will support UR undergraduates who need immediate assistance.
■ Endowed funds to further support student scholarships at Simon and within arts, sciences and engineering; emergency needs for undergraduates; the Lam Professorship in support of EPAM; key initiatives at Simon, Eastman, and River Campus Libraries; and presidential priorities.
“Evans’ role in the evolution of the university and the advancement of our mission cannot be overstated,” Mangelsdorf says. “He has propelled our libraries into the 21st century, helped scores of students reach their potential, and met the financial needs of many talented and diverse students from around the world while personally mentoring them. Evans believes in the university, our mission, and our values.”
Lam, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at UR and an MBA at Simon, has consistently donated to his alma mater consistently over the last several years. In 2013, Lam and his wife, Susanna, a retired CPA and opera singer, established the Susanna and Evans Y. Lam Professorship at Simon. A year later, Lam established the Evans Lam Scholarship at Eastman and created the Evans Lam Study Abroad Scholarship, which sponsors five undergraduate students to study in Hong Kong and China.
In 2015, he and Susanna gave $1 million to River Campus Libraries. The couple, charter members of the George Eastman Circle, UR’s leadership annual giving society, donates $100,000 annually to support UR.
Lam also has led initiatives, including the construction of the Mary Ann Mavrinac Studio, garnered support for student enrichment and increased gifts during the UR’s annual Day of Giving. A mentor to Lam scholarship students, he actively engages others in giving to UR.
“Evans personifies our mission and inspires others in everything he does at Rochester,” says Thomas Farrell, senior vice president for advancement at UR. “This includes his enthusiastic service on the Board of Trustees and multiple advisory councils and committees, and hosting events throughout the U.S. and around the world, always in the spirit of further engaging alumni, parents, and friends of the university.
“This latest gift exemplifies all of this and positions the university well for the future, aligns with the emerging Boundless Possibility strategic plan, and sets a powerful example for others.”
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor and adjunct faculty at UR. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected].