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Alumnus Hock Tan pledges $4 million gift for endowed chair in MechE

New professorship to be named in honor of Professor Emeritus Nam P. Suh
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Department of Mechanical Engineering
Hock E. Tan
Hock E. Tan
Courtesy of Hock E. Tan
Professor Emeritus Nam P. Suh
Professor Emeritus Nam P. Suh
Courtesy of Nam P. Suh

The Department of Mechanical Engineering (MechE) is pleased to announce a generous gift of $4 million for the endowment of a new full professorship from alumus Hock E. Tan ’75, SM ’75. Tan’s gift will enable MechE to recognize an outstanding faculty member in the department and to support and enhance its research and educational programs.

The new professorship will be named in honor of Ralph E. and Eloise F. Cross Professor Emeritus Nam P. Suh ’59, SM ’61, a celebrated mechanical engineer and leader. Suh served as head of MechE from 1991 to 2001, and founded the Laboratory of Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP) and the MIT-Industry Polymer Processing Program. He served as president of the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) from 2006 to 2013.

Suh was also an influential and supportive mentor to Tan. “Professor Suh was an inspiration to me, as well as a friend,” Tan says. “I am very grateful for the support he gave me during my time at MIT.”

“I am thrilled," he continues, "to be giving back to an institution that enables a student experience, an ecosystem even, in which great innovators and teachers like Professor Emeritus Nam Suh have thrived and influenced generations of students.”

Tan came to MIT from Penang, Malaysia. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in mechanical engineering in the same year, and later earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has held several high-level finance and executive positions in companies like PepsiCo and General Motors, as well as technology companies, such as computer-manufacturer Commodore International and Integrated Circuit Systems. He currently serves as CEO of Avago Technologies, a company that is brokering the largest takeover in high-technology history with its purchase of BroadCom. Both companies sell communications chips.

“I am incredibly moved by Hock Tan’s gift and his investment in our future,” says Gang Chen, head of MechE and the Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering. “It is wonderful that he has chosen to name this professorship in honor of Professor Nam Suh, who is a very special person in both our lives. Professor Suh played an important role in my life and career when he brought me to MIT as a faculty member in 2001.”

Tan’s gift will be honored this coming fall in conjunction with an 80th birthday celebration for Professor Emeritus Suh, being held at this year’s International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition.

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