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School of Science announces $1M gift from Bart Ng, emeritus dean

Oct 29, 2018

The School of Science at IUPUI has received a $1 million planned gift from retired dean Bart Ng. The gift will endow a professorship within the Department of Mathematical Sciences in honor of Ng’s late brother, Joseph S. Ng.

“The School of Science is so grateful for professor Ng’s generosity. Throughout his distinguished career, professor Ng has outstandingly served the school in every aspect of our mission – through his teaching, through his research and with his leadership,” School of Science Dean Simon Rhodes said. “This personal gift will extend forever the positive impact on student and faculty success that is his hallmark.”

Simon Rhodes and Bart Ng
From left: School of Science Dean Simon Rhodes and Dean Emeritus Bart Ng.

The planned gift will support a professorship in the Department of Mathematical Sciences for the purpose of recruiting, retaining or honoring a faculty member with significant scholarly accomplishments. The professorship is open to faculty from all areas of mathematical sciences who value interdisciplinary collaboration, especially those whose work demonstrates the impact that mathematics has on other disciplines.

This gift counts toward the $3 billion For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign. The campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses including IU Bloomington, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast. It will conclude in June 2020 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial year celebration.

“The Department of Mathematical Sciences is so appreciative of professor Ng’s endowed gift,” said Jeff Watt, the department chair. “He has made outstanding contributions to math and science research at IUPUI, and his gift will ensure we continue to recognize future faculty who help keep the School of Science moving forward.”

Ng joined the Department of Mathematical Sciences at IUPUI in 1975 and served as chair of the department from 1986 to 1997. He became a member of the Founding Faculty of University College at IUPUI in 1997 and was appointed M. L. Bittinger Professor of Mathematical Sciences in 2004. Ng served as dean of the School of Science from 2008 until his retirement in 2011. He hopes that his gift will help the School of Science continue to grow.

“Very few significant scientific problems these days can be solved without collaboration between two or more disciplines, and mathematics is playing an increasingly pivotal role in advancing the scientific frontier,” Ng said. “We can all benefit as scientists to think outside of the confines of traditional disciplinary boundaries. I say that for mathematicians; I say the same thing for physical scientists, biologists and neuroscientists. No scientists nowadays can afford to think in a narrow-minded and field-specific kind of fashion.”

Ng was born in China shortly after World War II. Of the six children in his family, only the three youngest had the opportunity to attend college. Despite not having earned a college degree, his older brother Joseph had a deep appreciation for learning. A naturally gifted self-taught engineer, Joseph maintained a lifelong curiosity about and appreciation for discovery and research in the sciences and emerging technologies. It was through his encouragement and support that his three youngest siblings were able to attend college and achieve terminal degrees in their respective fields of study.

Ng received his bachelor’s degree from Saint Joseph’s College in 1968 and a doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1973. He completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Toronto.

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