Trustee Emeritus Martin Tang ’70 – a longtime supporter, volunteer and ambassador for Cornell – and his family have made a $3 million gift to name the Martin Y. Tang Welcome Center, pending approval of the Cornell Board of Trustees. The gift will be used to renovate and repurpose the existing Noyes Lodge overlooking Beebe Lake.
The gift, which comes from Tang and his sisters, Nadine Tang and Leslie Tang Schilling, responds to a $3 million challenge grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies, the foundation established by Charles F. Feeney ’56 that has given nearly $1 billion to the university over the last four decades. The Tangs’ gift, combined with Atlantic’s, completes the $6 million needed for the project.
“Cornell has long needed a welcome center to serve the tens of thousands of people who visit the Ithaca campus each year,” said Interim President Hunter Rawlings, “and I can’t think of a better name to have on this building than that of Martin Tang, an exemplary Cornell citizen.”
Tang is recognized as one of Cornell’s most active alumni leaders. He is the longest-serving international trustee on the Cornell University Board of Trustees (since 1994) and played an integral role in the revitalization of the Cornell Club of Hong Kong, of which he served as the second chair. He has been a frequent host to Cornell administrators, faculty and staff traveling through Hong Kong, and has traveled around the world on behalf of Cornell.
“I love the physical beauty of the Ithaca campus and have fond memories of Sunday brunches at Noyes Lodge,” said Tang. “My family and I are pleased that future Cornellians and visitors will once again have the opportunity to enjoy the unparalleled view over Beebe Lake. I can’t imagine a more beautiful spot to serve as our welcome center.”
The Martin Y. Tang Welcome Center will be located in Noyes Lodge, originally a dining facility, at the intersection of Central and North campuses and with views of Beebe Lake. The center will provide a highly visible and accessible gathering space for visitors, as well as a resource and event space for students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents.
The project involves three main components: the renovation and repurposing of existing space in Noyes Lodge to serve as a welcome center; a corresponding effort in Stimson Hall to accommodate the Language Resource Center currently housed in Noyes Lodge; and the creation of a significant exhibit within the new welcome center that highlights Cornell’s history, mission and values.
Cornell has hired JMZ Architects and Planners, PC, based in Glens Falls, New York, to design the welcome center and oversee construction. JMZ has contracted with Poulin + Morris Inc., a New York City-based design firm, for the exhibit portion of the welcome center. The schematic design process for the welcome center is underway, and the center is scheduled to open in summer 2018.
While the Tang family has contributed the gift that ensures the project’s completion, other funding and naming opportunities exist within the new welcome center, including the naming of the great room in which people will gather for information and tours, and the Cornell University exhibit space.
Tang has a history of bringing people into the Cornell community and onto a beautiful Ithaca campus through his passionate support of scholarships and the Cornell Plantations. As part of his Cornell Now campaign commitment, he created the Martin Y. Tang International Scholarship Challenge to encourage others to establish endowed scholarships. He has also provided financial support to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Engineering, Cornell Library, Milstein Hall, Student and Campus Life, and many other areas throughout the university.
Nadine Tang and Leslie Tang Schilling, both friends of the university, have also made past contributions to Cornell. In 2009 they surprised their brother by naming a seminar room in the Tatkon Center in honor of his 60th birthday.
Kate Klein is a writer for Alumni Affairs and Development.