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Why is Stony Brook University
MORE Famous in China
Than in the USA?

Two men... two generations

YANG Chen Ning and WANG Jia Lian
C.N. Yang and Charles Wang

Nobel physicist C.N. Yang brought academic prestige to Stony Brook as no other person at the University ever has. Without him, SBU might still be the teacher's college it was first proposed to be. Forty years later and seven years after his retirement, he gave us status that is still unequaled.

Yet in this modern world of the internet, television, and a global economy, a university's prestige can also come from new sources outside of academia. SBU's graduate computer science department ranks 15 nationwide. Many of those getting Masters and PhD's are top ranked international students from China where native son Charles Wang is just as well known as Yang. Before he retired Wang had created the then second largest computer company in the world. Now he is known for his philanthropic (ad)ventures uniting the land of his birth with his adopted home.

Aside from being the founder of Computer Associates (CA), Charles Wang is also known as the NY Islanders National Hockey League (NHL) team owner, a real estate mogul, and above all, a well known philanthropist. His funding just for The Smile Train, which gives free operations all across Asia to children with cleft palate, has endeared him to the Chinese.

Charles Wang with Harbin Red Stars junior hockey team as they wait to go onto the Islanders home ice.

Charles Wang, NY Islanders owner, waits with Harbin
Red Stars before they go on the NY Islanders home ice.

At the same time he spent almost $50 million building an Asian and Asian American Center for Stony Brook, he donated China's most modern law school in honor of his father at Soochow University, the Kenneth Wang School of Law. While that event was not reported on in the US, the official 1st anniversary celebration was on TV all across China.

Last year he brought two teams of young boys, the Harbin Red Stars and Qiqihar Snow Leopards, to Canada to compete in the Bell Capital Cup, and then brought them to Long Island - an event that was one of the few reported in US newspapers - albeit on the sports pages.

And this August, at the Stony Brook China Alumni - AIMP China V Reunions, they talked about their benefactor's latest gift to China - see the full story below. While it made all the Chinese news, not one single newspaper in the USA has carried it as of this writing (8/28). Charles Wang was creating China Ice Hockey Project Hope with the China Winter Sports Association. It will not only fund China's national ice hockey training center and three national women's ice training bases, but it will also fund 30 middle schools, 10 high schools, and scholarships for high school students to come to the US to study.

Wang and the Islanders get no charitable tax write-offs for foreign donations. He may be thinking about his own team for some part of this, but that is so long term it is negligible. The bottom line is that sports competitions should be a global as trade. And his two daughters are constant reminders that in the sports world, sexism makes racism pale in comparison. Perhaps he can start the first WNHL too... (and SBU would not mind a rink while he is at it!)

In China, Charles Wang's relationship to Stony Brook via the Wang Center is like C.N. Yang's relationship to Stony Brook - the University's name goes hand in hand with theirs and is part of the national knowledge base. If only we got the same recognition in our own country!

China Daily
Billionaire Wang launches ice hockey rescue plan

China's ice hockey is still struggling despite the winter sports success of Yang Yang (A), Wang Meng, Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo at short-track speed skating and figure skating.

There are only three professional ice hockey teams, in Harbin, Qiqihar and Jiamusi, and lack of financial investment has forced Chinese hockey players to play low-level competitions. This has caused Chinese ice hockey lag behind Asian rivals Japan and South Korea, not to mention traditional powerhouses such as Canada and USA.

But this may change and Chinese ice hockey stars could be playing in the National Hockey League (NHL) under a bold new rescue plan.

In a bid to boost the grass-roots levels of the sport, China Winter Sports Administration Centre officials and Charles Wang, owner of the New York Islanders of the NHL signed a deal called China Ice Hockey Project Hope in Beijing this week.

It is the first time China's ice hockey is linked to the world's most prestigious league.

In the five-year program, the New York Islander will help set up a China Ice Hockey Training Centre, three Women's Ice Hockey Training Bases, 30 primary schools of the Ice Hockey Project Hope and 10 high schools of the same kind.

"Project Hope is a good beginning toward our mutual goals of popularizing the sport of ice hockey and to further develop the talent pool of players here in China," said Wang, a Shanghai-born American. Billionaire Wang was a top executive of Computer Associates, once the world's second largest software maker, and believes Chinese players will soon feature in the NHL. But promising young players need to be nurtured.

The first eight primary schools have already been chosen to start the program. China used to have about 20 teams in the early 1980s and the men's team also advanced into Pool B of World Ice Hockey Championships four times in 1979, 1981, 1986 and 2001. But some cities dumped their teams because field and facility shortages.

Now China's national team mainly depends on the remaining three squads.

Wang and his club have started paying attention to the sport's status since 2004. The club sent a manager to China in 2004 and set up its Harbin Representative Office. In 2005, 300 full sets of hockey equipment, worth US$200,000 were donated to the China Ice Hockey Association.

New York Islanders also selected its own coaches to China, helping assist China women's national team.

Last year, two young teams from Harbin were sponsored by NYI to compete with teams in Canada and New York.

Wang said in the next five years, more international exchange of competitions will be organized.

"We will proved opportunities for travel to USA to compete against other international youth hockey players," he said.

The Nassau Coliseum, home of the NYI, will hold the annual Lighthouse Invitational while a team from China will be selected to be able to compete with other teams of the same age group.

NHL dream

Through co-operation and know-how in the past two years, Wang is confident that one day, Chinese players will have the capability to join in NHL.

"I had dinner with some of the young players who were sent to Canada and New York to play last year. They will be good hockey players. There is no question about it. Everyone is delighted.

"I am confident that someday, we will see Chinese ice hockey players playing in NHL. They will be the pride of all Chinese people," said Wang.

To achieve the goal, the first step, according to Wang, is to bring some promising players to study in high school in the United States. 

"We are planning to select two youngsters aged 14-15 who are excellent in academics, fluent in English and promising hockey players. These same students could apply to American colleges upon graduation.

"We hope the first group of candidates will be finalized by the end of this year and leave for New York by August 2007."

The coach assistance will also be involved in the program.

"We will assist China Ice Hockey coaches through various skill and strategy training sessions. As a matter of fact, two New York Islanders coaches arrived just this past Saturday night," Wang added.

Source: China Daily

by Ja Young, Alumni Editor, Shanghai Summer

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