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Skidmore College

Tang Family Fund expands support of Skidmore academics and Tang Museum

April 4, 2024

Skidmore College Life Trustee Oscar Tang, husband of the late Frances Young Tang ’61, father of Kristin Tang ’92, and president of The Tang Fund, is continuing his family’s legacy of transformational giving to Skidmore College with a gift to establish the Frances Young Tang ’61 Professorship in Economics and Asian Studies. The endowed fund will support a new faculty position that will be a dual appointment to the Economics Department and Asian Studies Program, with teaching duties focused on economics courses relating to China and Asia.

Frances Young Tang ’61

Frances Young Tang ’61

In addition to the professorship, The Tang Fund is furthering the family’s exceptional support of Asian studies at Skidmore with generous gifts in support of the existing Tang Family Chinese Studies Endowment Fund as well as to establish the Frances Young Tang ’61 Asian Studies Program Endowment Fund.

“In recognition of the Tang family’s exceptional support of Asian studies at Skidmore, I am pleased to share that Skidmore’s Asian Studies Program will be named The Frances Young Tang ’61 Program in Asian Studies,” said President Marc C. Conner. “We are very proud of this interdisciplinary program, which has been an integral part of our curriculum for over 70 years.”

Skidmore’s Asian Studies Program is one of the oldest in the country. Courses in Asian studies were first offered at Skidmore in the 1950s, and it became an independent program in the 1960s. Today, students have the option to major or minor in Asian studies.

“The Tang family’s commitment to Asian studies at prestigious institutions such as Princeton, Columbia, and Berkeley is unparalleled. Skidmore is honored to now extend new, expanded opportunities to the next generation of students and scholars on our campus,” said Conner. “Endowed gifts such as this have an immediate impact, but they also serve as a powerful promise to our future.”

The Chinese Studies Endowment Fund was previously created by the Tang family to support activities directly related to the teaching of Chinese studies at the College, including language and literature and the establishment of the Frances Young Tang ’61 Chair in Chinese Studies, which is currently held by Jenny Day, associate professor of history.

The Tang family’s support of academics at Skidmore extends back many years, including a 1989 gift to Skidmore’s Chinese Studies Department.

“Skidmore was an important part of Frankie’s education,” said Oscar Tang. “She and I began our family’s support of Skidmore over three decades ago in Asian studies. We first focused on the foundational teaching of Chinese language and literature, and after her passing, our family expanded that support with the establishment of the chair in Chinese studies bearing her name. It is now our pleasure to further enhance Skidmore’s curricular offerings in Asian studies with this professorship and related funding.”

“The Tang family’s dedication to advancing student understanding of the multiple facets of cultures, traditions, and contemporary realities of Asian countries and peoples is far-reaching – not just for those students majoring or minoring in these disciplines, but for all who wish to expand their perspectives within a robust curriculum,” said Dorothy Mosby, dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs.

The newly created Asian Studies Program Endowment Fund will provide resources to support student learning and faculty work in Asian studies, including but not limited to visiting scholar residencies, faculty and student research, symposia, and travel.

“To provide lasting support for Skidmore’s outstanding faculty, but also for robust, diverse academic experiences both within the classroom and beyond, speaks to the Tang family’s profound understanding of the value of the liberal arts,” said Mosby.

The Tang family is also continuing their support of the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, named for Frances, who passed away in 1992, the same year that their daughter, Kristin Tang, graduated from Skidmore. Kristin has served on Skidmore’s Board of Trustees as a young alumni trustee.

In 1996, the Tang family made the naming gift for the museum, and they have remained steadfast in their support.

Since 2014, the Tang Museum has honored Frances’s legacy of creativity and philanthropy at an annual community open house fondly known as Frances Day, which draws hundreds of individuals to campus, including many children and families. This celebratory day will continue to flourish thanks to the establishment of the Endowed Fund for Frances Day.

“Frances Day is a day marked by joy and celebration,” said Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery and professor of liberal arts. “To know that we are able to continue to offer this special welcome to our regional community is phenomenal, and it reflects the Tang family’s founding commitment to the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore.”

Reflecting on the impact of the Tang family’s generosity, Mosby added, “It is a true gift to play a role in awakening creativity, inspiring curiosity, and advancing knowledge – and that is what Skidmore looks forward to doing for many years to come as we honor Frances’s legacy.”

“This is a gift of enormous significance to Skidmore,” said President Conner. “By creating this new faculty line, the Tang gift not only supports student and faculty needs in one of our largest majors, but it also enhances a vital interdisciplinary program that speaks to many of the most pressing issues of our time. With this endowment, Oscar Tang has set a model for how to continue and grow the Skidmore education far into the future.”

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