Around the Quads

Landmark Gift for Columbia Chemistry

Quads donors

Ge Li GSAS’94 and Ning Zhao GSAS’95

Courtesy Ge Li & Ning Zhao Family Foundation

Columbia announced a $21.5 million gift from Ge Li GSAS’94 and Ning Zhao GSAS’95 to advance research and teaching in chemistry at Columbia College and other University schools.


The gift will provide an endowed scholarship for College students concentrating in chemistry and will also support two endowed professorships, including funding for a laboratory startup and an endowed fellowship for graduate students.

“We are deeply grateful to our graduates Dr. Ge Li and Dr. Ning Zhao, who know firsthand the importance of investing in fundamental scientific discovery,” President Lee C. Bollinger said. “Their generosity will allow us to expand our efforts to address challenges in areas like cancer and climate, while supporting the gifted faculty and students who make that work possible.”

“I have known Ge and Ning ever since they came to Columbia chemistry as graduate students,” Dean James J. Valentini said. “They have always expressed to me a deep bond with Columbia and its great chemistry department. I am so pleased to have worked with them in developing this remarkable gift to Columbia.” He added, “That gift will support our faculty, graduate students and undergraduates, enabling the success of so many future Columbians.”

Li and Zhao both earned their doctorates in organic chemistry at Columbia. In 2000, Li founded WuXi AppTec, a provider of research, development and manufacturing services that enables companies in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries worldwide, where Li is chair and CEO. Zhao is a member of the board, senior VP and global head of human resources at WuXi AppTec, and president of the Ge Li & Ning Zhao Family Foundation.