A prominent Taiwanese businessman donated $1 million to the University to create a permanent library collection focused on Taiwan and a sponsored professorship in the English department.
The English department secured $700,000 of the gift, the largest single donation to the department in GW history. The remaining $300,000 will establish a Wang Taiwan Resource Center Endowed Fund, named after the donor Albert Wang.
Wang, whose twin daughters will be GW sophomores in the fall, is the founder of Ever Rite, a successful shoe-manufacturing corporation. This is the second $1 million contribution the Wang family has made to GW. The first, donated last year, went to the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration to fund a scholarship for graduate students and a departmental faculty chair.
Jeffrey Cohen, the English department chair, said the donation will fund high profile visiting professors, starting with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward P. Jones in fall 2009.
"We're really excited about this," Cohen said. "I can't recall a bigger donation in the humanities. We've been doing everything on a shoestring for a long time but this is the funding we've been working for."
Cohen said $300,000 of the English department's gift will establish and fund the Wang Visiting Professor in Contemporary English Literature over the next two years. The other $400,000 will be put toward a permanent endowment.
"This means we are raising the profile of the humanities at GW," Cohen said. "Edward Jones will be an incredibly valuable addition during his stay."
Jones, who penned the Pulitzer Prize winning novel "The Known World," will teach a creative writing course and hold a special literature class, which Cohen described as "a sort of book club."
Cohen said GW's location in D.C. was a factor in securing Jones as a professor.
"He lives over on Massachusetts Avenue," Jones said. "The fact that he could teach somewhere nearby was important to him. He's an author, not a professor, so we're lucky to have him."