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Major gift boosts Tulane Law’s China initiatives

February 16, 2016


Tulane Law Dean David Meyer congratulates retired Professor S.T. Hsieh (far right), who was accompanied by friends Ted and Eddie Lee, on formalizing a major gift to support a wide range of law school initiatives in China.

By Ben Evans

As a student, professor and researcher, S.T. Hsieh spent much of his life at Tulane. An engineer who has researched such areas as the biological effects of electromagnetic fields, he also has devoted time to nurturing multidisciplinary projects with Asia that involve the university’s law and business schools as well as the engineering department.

Two years after retiring from the Tulane engineering faculty, Hsieh and his wife, Amy Lee, are committing a major gift to Tulane Law School to support a wide range of initiatives in China. 

Following a humble upbringing in Taiwan, Hsieh came to the United States after completing his bachelor’s degree in electrophysics at National Chiao-Tung University. He earned a master’s in electrical engineering and a doctorate in engineering from Tulane with Dr. Yeb Jo Seto as a mentor. Hsieh joined the Tulane faculty in 1979 and served as a head of the Electrical Engineering Department from 1986 to 1992. 

“I was really fortunate that Professor Seto offered me a research fellowship under his NSF (National Science Foundation) grant studying microwave interactions with plasma,” Hsieh said. “We gave this gift in honor of our family and mentors that mean so much to us.”

Tulane supported Hsieh’s interests on multiple levels, he said. The university also has shown a global vision toward U.S.-China collaborations.


In December 2015, Tulane Law Dean David Meyer and Professor Guiguo Wang were among faculty who took part in the 7th International Conference on the New Haven School of Jurisprudence in Hangzhou, China, a collaboration among Tulane, Yale Law School and Zhejiang University.

When Tulane first turned its attention to China in the late 1980s, Hsieh was a key players in forging a relationship between the two nations. He focused on promoting U.S.-China energy and environmental partnerships through the U.S./China Energy & Environmental Technology Center. The center built an effective network of government agencies, academic institutions and industries in both countries, helping to strengthen Tulane’s relationship with China. Hsieh became involved with the law school through EETC and an affiliation with the Payson Center for International Development (now the Payson Graduate Program in Global Development), and he played an early role in the law school’s efforts to expand its involvement in China.

Today, Tulane Law has partnerships with several Chinese universities and continues to strengthen and expand them. Tulane also supports an array of activities in China, such as teaming with Yale Law School and Zhejiang University to host the annual International Conference on the New Haven School of Jurisprudence.

Tulane Law Dean David Meyer and maritime law faculty have traveled to China multiple times to teach or take part in conferences. And former City University of Hong Kong School of Law Dean Guiguo Wang joined the Tulane Law faculty in 2014 and then organized a visit by a delegation of 30 senior judges from across China who were studying U.S. law.

The Hsiehs’ gift of $300,000, along with their active support, will help the law school expand further on Tulane’s outreach to China. 

“Tulane University’s intellectual capacities and academic disciplines mesh with China well,” Hsieh said, adding that “Tulane is in a very unique position to engage China in many important academic fields, including medicine, law, businesses, political science, social works, wetland and most importantly clean energy. Most fortunately, Tulane has invested in the past 30 years developing a functional base in China, so it is the right time and right place for moving forward actively.”

Meyer hailed the Hsiehs’ gift as a major boost for the law school’s efforts to build collaborations and promote dialogue and understanding.

“S.T. was instrumental in opening doors for the law school’s growing presence in China several years ago,” Meyer said. “This generous and visionary gift will now enable us to accelerate and expand those initiatives in the years ahead.”

Ben Evans is a communication specialist at Tulane University.


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