When I was working on my case study about Harold Frank Hall, an engineering building of UCSB, I found the names of buildings interesting because when I lived in China, I seldom saw engineering buildings named after a businessman in prestigious universities, though I had visited most of the first-tier universities in Shanghai by the time I left for the U.S. American colleges, in contrast, name science and engineering buildings in a different way.
Universities in the U.S. name engineering buildings in various ways and largely depend on donations. Chinese universities seldom name engineering buildings after businessmen. Instead, Chinese universities simply use the name of the department in the building as a part of the building’s name. According to my experience in China, if a top university names its engineering building after a businessman who gives a lot of money to the university, Chinese will probably think it is strange because in China it is more reasonable to name an engineering building after a great scientist or a great engineer who contributed a lot to the related field if the building’s name indeed needs to store a memory about someone. This interesting difference embodies cultural differences between China and the U.S. Meanwhile, the sources of funds for universities in China and America are very different. Universities in America receive and rely on public donations mainly from their alumni. This is important for private universities like Stanford University. In contrast, all of the prestigious Chinese universities are owned by and have funds directly from the Chinese government, which means public donations are not necessary.
Harold Frank Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara
Harold Frank was an electrical engineering student at Washington University who later founded Applied Magnetics, which Harold Frank led to a huge success. During my case study, the associate Dean of the college of engineering told me the reason for the engineering hall naming after him is his donation. Nonetheless, his glorious company bankrupted in 2001 and nowadays I think UCSB students does not own many memories related to him, though the plaque in Harold Frank states that he motivated many engineering students with his career story.
Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center, Stanford University
When I did a google search for information about this center, a familiar name and a familiar face of a man showed up but I could not remember where I saw them until I read this man’s background. Jen-Hsun Huang is the president and CEO of Nvidia, which is a world-wide known company known for its descent hardware production and quality. Then I recalled that I watched an hour-long video about Nvidia’s new technology for automobile and deep learning, in which Huang gave a long speech. [I was surprised by the fact that Huang’s name is on the engineering center of Stanford because I thought]. According to Stanford’s official website and a video posted on Youtube, Jen-Hsun Huang donated much money to Huang Engineering Center, Stanford’s new engineering building. From my perspective, it is wise of Huang to denote money to Stanford, through which he becomes famous among freshmen in Stanford every year and thus he can easily recruit excellent engineering students from the college.
Bechtel Engineering Center, University of California, Berkeley
An engineering building of University of California, Berkeley, is named after Stephen Bechtel. Amusingly, when I used the search engine provided by Stanford on its website for college of engineering to gather information about Bechtel, I gained nothing. However, thanks to Bechtel company, which is still working today and has its official website, I found Bechtel’s story from a reliable source. Stephen Bechtel was once a college student who studied in UCB after he served in World War I. Nonetheless, he dropped out later and joined his father’s business. At the age of 30, Bechtel operated Bechtel company as the CEO. After his dad’s death, he was totally in charge of his company. Then he led his company to a great success, like Harold Frank and Jen-Hsun Huang. There are no direct clues about his contributions to UCB online but I guess the reason for his last name as a part of the engineering building of UCB is that he donated a lot of money to UCB.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University (Beijing, China)
College of Engineering of Tsinghua University is one of the best engineering schools throughout the world. Not like top colleges in U.S., Tsinghua does not name its engineering buildings after a specific person.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Shanghai Jiaotong University
Like Tsinghua, one of the engineering buildings of Jiaotong University does not have any special meaning.
Work Cited List
Peterson, Nancy. “Huang Center Dedicated, Lauded as Stanford’s Engineering
Anchor.” Stanford University. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Sept. 2016.
Newsroom, NVIDIA. “Jen-Hsun Huang.” NVIDIA Newsroom Newsroom. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Sept. 2016.
“History & Discoveries.” UC Berkeley Official Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Sept. 2016.
“Stephen D. Bechtel Sr. – Family Leadership – Bechtel.” Bechtel Company. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Sept. 2016.