Chemical Science Gets $21.5M Boost

Ge Li and Ning Zhao
Ge Li and Ning Zhao.

Ge Li ’94GSAS and Ning Zhao ’95GSAS, scientists, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists who earned their PhDs in organic chemistry at Columbia, have donated $21.5 million to the University to advance research and teaching in chemistry.

The couple’s gift, which is one of the largest ever to the sciences on the Morningside campus, will fund in perpetuity two new endowed professorships in the chemistry department, an endowed fellowship for graduate students, and an endowed scholarship for Columbia College undergraduates concentrating in chemistry.

Li is the founder, chairman, and CEO of WuXi AppTec, a company that provides research, development, and manufacturing services to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries worldwide. Zhao is a senior vice president, the head of global human resources, and a board member at WuXi AppTec; she is also president of the Ge Li and Ning Zhao Family Foundation. 

Li and Zhao credit much of their professional success to Columbia. 

“The exceptional education that Ning and I received as students at Columbia University has played an important role in our career and in fostering our passion for doing the right thing for patients,” says Li. 

Adds Zhao: “I am proud to support the students, faculty, and staff who are dedicated to excellence in chemical science and the pursuit of discoveries that will help address health challenges around the world.”