Taiwanese alumni establish scholarship fund for SF State students

Taiwanese alumni have joined forces with SF State to bring more Taiwanese students to the University.

The Taiwan chapter of the SF State Alumni Association has established a scholarship fund to encourage international students from their native country to study at the University, making it the first regional scholarship established at SF State.

President Leslie E. Wong proposed the idea to establish the scholarship fund when he met with 45 alumni in Taipei last December while on a trip to build relationships with graduates.

So far, the alumni group in Taiwan has gathered $25,000, which will be available in scholarships for students from the island country in Fall 2014.

“Us SF State alumni, we want to have a strong university. Whenever we mention we are a graduate of SF State, people say ‘Oh, you are great, congratulations!’ To make this happen, you need to make the University strong,” said Taiwan Alumni Chapter Secretary General Edward Chen.

Chen graduated in 2002 with a bachelors and masters degree in general management, both acquired at SF State, and now runs an international textile machinery company. He said the University prepared him to succeed in a global market, so he gives back to the University so that it can produce more successful students.

The Taiwan Alumni Chapter consists of more than 100 registered alumni, although the chapter said many more Taiwanese have attended SF State.

Prominent graduates of the University in that country are journalist Amanda Lee and President of Tamkang University, Flora Chia-I Chang.

About 1,500 international students from 100 countries study at SF State and 59 Taiwanese students are enrolled this fall, according to the University’s website,

Aside from paying regular tuition, international and non-resident students also have to pay an additional $372 fee per unit.

Although no criteria for eligibility or number of awards have been established, the scholarships will help alleviate these fees for Taiwanese students.

“I think it’s very meaningful, to do this; it’s actually multi-beneficial to the University,” said Wan-Lee Cheng, former SF State faculty member and advisor to the Taiwanese Student Association during his tenure. “First you’ve got your alumni engaged in supporting the university, their alma mater, secondly to get more international students from different countries and with them support study at San Francisco State.”

SF State presidents like former president Robert Corrigan and current president Wong often meet with alumni throughout the world. President Wong said their support is a powerful asset to the University.

“There is a clear emotional attachment to their alma mater as it was the location where they found themselves, found purpose and direction, they in turn want to give back,” said Wong.

Alumni often provide letters of support for grant applications, licensing requests and government initiatives, as well as internship and job opportunities, said Wong.

The SF State Alumni Association currently offers a variety of scholarships — with a few open to international students — based on major, year of study and other qualifications.

Yet this is the first regional scholarship that has been developed and President Wong proposed that other alumni groups in Tokyo, Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington, D.C. establish similar scholarship funds.

“It’s pretty amazing what alums do,” Wong said. “Our effort is to celebrate their connection, and not lose contact with them.”

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