The School of Science at IUPUI will receive a $1 million planned gift from science dean emeritus Bart Ng. The gift will be in honor of the dean emeritus’s late brother, Joseph S. Ng.
“His brother recently passed away and he made this gift in honor of his brother’s memory,” current science dean Simon Rhodes said.
When Ng’s planned gift become complete, Rhodes said it will go towards creating a named professorship within the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
“It would be prestigious,” Rhodes said. “That might help us attract a great, new faculty member or it may help us retain someone that another university is trying to lure away.”
The planned gift would be an endowment, the interest from which would be at the discretion of the appointee to the named professorship.
“That money is invested and presented by the university foundation, and it’s the interest that’s given to the faculty member to help them in their work,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes said the faculty member could use this discretionary fund in a variety of ways to help fulfill the mission of the department, such as supporting the research of undergraduate and graduate students.
“It helps the research but we have a strong value of involving students, undergrads and grad students in our research, and so it really helps the student side as well,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes said that the planned gift will come into fruition after Ng passes away, and that it will reflect Ng’s interest in the inter-disciplinary collaboration between mathematics and other fields.
“When it comes time to identify someone, that certainly will be a part of the decision, to help build inter-disciplinary research,” Rhodes said of the named professorship. “That’s one of things he thinks is important, is synergistic collaborations between mathematics and other fields, like biology, like neuroscience, like engineering and so on.”
Rhodes said that this reflects the inter-disciplinary nature of Ng’s career.
“His work certainly crosses boundaries and that’s true in his teaching too,” Rhodes said of Ng. “For example, a lot of the math he teaches is actually to engineering students, not science students.”
Bart Ng first joined IUPUI in 1975, serving in the Department of Mathematical Sciences before becoming its chair in 1986. In 1997, Ng became a Founding Faculty of University College at IUPUI. In 2004, Ng became a M. L. Bittinger Professor of Mathematical Sciences. Ng then served as the dean of the School of Science from 2008 to 2011.
Rhodes commended his predecessor Ng as outstanding in his work and expressed excitement for how his gift will be used.
“I love the idea that it is inter-disciplinary,” Rhodes said. “I love the idea that it can really help both sides of our mission, that it can help student success as well as research success.”
The gift will be counted towards the Indiana University Foundation’s For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign, which seeks to raise $3 billion by June 2020.