Alibaba Group’s founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma today donated RMB100 million ($16 million) to his alma mater, Hangzhou Normal University, to set up an education fund. The donation is the largest donation made to the university since its founding 107 years ago.
The education fund will be used to nurture teaching talent at the university, and boost the quality of elementary education, especially in rural areas.
The fund, named after Ma and the university, will be managed by the university’s education foundation. It will support teacher training programs, academic research and the building of teacher training facilities. A scholarship program will be created to award promising young teachers and outstanding students at the university. The fund will also act as an endowment for the College of Foreign Languages, from which Ma got his bachelor’s degree in English.
Ma has spoken highly of Hangzhou Normal University which he attended in 1980s. He believes it is the “the best university in the world”, because the school taught him to be optimistic, to respect others and to change society and the world.
“I felt guilty when I started my own business after being a teacher for six years, but I believe I will come back to class one day to share my failures and experiences. I am proud that I apply a teacher’s perspective to everyday issues and problems, when it comes to clients or colleagues or evaluating the different stages of my company and its social values,” said Ma at the donation ceremony.
“My donation is not about money. It's love and trust and my gratitude to my alma mater and my teachers,” said Ma.“I am always a student and I would like to be a teacher all my life.”
Early this year, Ma established Lakeside University with other seven businessmen and scholars to nurture China’s young entrepreneurs. 36 students have started their courses in Lakeside University.