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Civic activist and retired business leader makes $1 million gift to Indiana University's SPEA

May 6, 2014
Bloomington, IN --

The Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) has received a $1 million gift from David Wang, a civic leader and retired International Paper Company executive.

“The nation has never faced as many major policy issues as it does now,” Wang said. “SPEA students are going to be the much-needed experts at the city, state and national levels of government. This gift is intended to help SPEA prepare those students for the tremendous challenges and opportunities that are ahead.”

David WangWang is generous with both his resources and his time, serving as the founding chair of SPEA’s advisory council from 2009 through April of this year.

“The council is an extraordinary group of people with a vast reservoir of knowledge,” Wang said. “It has been a privilege to lead this group these last five years.”

“This gift is targeted for our strategic priorities and brings us closer to achieving our bold aspirations,” SPEA Dean John D. Graham said. “As chair of our Dean’s Council, David helped shape those aspirations. His leadership and his generosity are an inspiration to all of us.”

Wang’s life story is inspirational, as well. Born in China, he moved to the U.S. as a teenager when his father was dispatched to work with the U.S. government at the end of World War II. Wang went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in mechanical engineering from George Washington University and a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech. Wang worked for Union Carbide Corp. in various capacities, including director of corporate development; he then joined International Paper, where he served as executive vice president with an expertise in chemical and forest products until his retirement in 1991.

In addition to his contributions to SPEA, David and his wife, Cecile, serve various organizations including human rights advocacy and arts and culture. David Wang has served as a trustee of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center, Eisenhower Fellowships, Southern Poverty Law Center and the Naples Philharmonic Center. He is also involved in a leadership role with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and serves on the board of the Bowdoin International Music Festival.

Wang’s gift will be managed by the Indiana University Foundation.