School of Social Sciences will join effort to foster understanding between US, Asian nation
The Long Family Foundation has given $2.75 million to the University of California, Irvine to broaden and rename the campus’s John S. and Marilyn Long U.S.-China Institute. The donation expands support for the institute’s operational and research-focused work to foster a stronger, mutual understanding of commerce between the two economic superpowers – a mission that will now be a tripartite effort of UCI’s School of Social Sciences, School of Law and Paul Merage School of Business.
“We are at a most exciting time in history among the U.S., China and the world. We hope that through this gift, the UCI Long Institute will further strengthen relations between these two great nations via a constructive and bilateral platform of common understanding,” said John Long, who with his wife, Marilyn, heads the foundation. “We’re delighted that the institute is a key part of UCI’s vision to distinguish itself as a leading global center of higher learning.”
The couple established the institute in 2010 with a nearly $2.7 million gift, bringing total funding from the Longs to almost $5.5 million. With the new donation and the involvement of social sciences, the research focus will expand from economic and legal interactions between the U.S. and China to economic growth, trade and investment; social development and justice; philanthropy and wealth management; and economic, health and safety risks and regulations.
“Given our location on the Pacific Rim, the demographics of our region and state, and the incredible strengths of our faculty, UCI is uniquely situated to be our nation’s leader in exploring and explaining issues surrounding the United States’ relationship with Asia, and especially with China,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Thanks to the continued generosity of the Longs, whose vision and dedication epitomize our private partners, the UCI John S. and Marilyn Long U.S.-China Institute for Business, Law and Society will enhance and accelerate both our academic mission and our positive impact on the world.”
The institute boasts a unique faculty with expertise in history, sociology, anthropology, political science, finance, psychology, business and law, according to director Benjamin van Rooij. “We are set to use the Longs’ gift to organize a range of activities to promote a better understanding of China in the U.S. – for instance, China’s changing population, its industrial pollution, and its rising inequality and anxiety,” he said.
A faculty research fund will be endowed to support this work. Current collaborations between the UCI Long Institute and several partners in China will also be bolstered, allowing the already fruitful research and academic exchange program to continue.
“The School of Social Sciences has long been a leader in the study of contemporary social processes and problems in comparative and international perspectives,” said Bill Maurer, dean of the school. “Working with Benjamin van Rooij and John Long, we realized the incredible gains to be made in advancing research on China by joining forces with our colleagues across the campus. With this generous gift, we will leverage our faculty expertise, student interest and geographic location to establish UCI as a premier center for China studies.”
“I am deeply grateful to John and Marilyn Long for their vision and support for this institute. From the outset, they have seen this as a multidisciplinary effort involving UC Irvine and schools in China,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UCI’s School of Law. “Thanks to this gift and the Long Family Foundation’s generous support, we are able to create a truly outstanding institute focusing on issues between the United States and China involving law, business and the social sciences.”
Eric R. Spangenberg, dean of The Paul Merage School of Business, agreed: “This extraordinary gift dovetails nicely with the Merage School’s strategic plan to continue to expand our international footprint. The doors that the institute have already opened – from visiting professors to more extensive collaborations and Executive Education opportunities – have been mutually beneficial and created a world of possibilities, quite literally.”