A New Era of Giving at Berklee

By 

Nelson L. Huang and his wife Phoebe Chen Huang recently became the first Chinese-American parents of a Berklee student to make a major gift to the college. The gift from the Huangs, parents of student Max Chen ’20, signals a new era of giving at Berklee and underscores the global character of the college.

A few years ago, there were less than 20 students from China on campus. Today, Chinese students have become the largest group among Berklee’s international student population. During the years the Huangs have lived in America, they have retained their cultural heritage, and their gift will promote understanding and celebrate the importance of that heritage.

The Huangs' gift supports the Wang Leehom Scholarship at Berklee, named for Chinese-American superstar Wang Leehom ’99, a singer-songwriter and cultural ambassador who has sold millions of albums around the world. The gift will also provide scholarships for continuing students majoring in Music Production & Engineering (MP&E) and Electronic Production and Design (EPD).

It’s fitting to note that these two departments are at the forefront of innovation at the college, preparing students for the entertainment and media landscape that has been transformed by the sweeping tide of new technologies. The Huangs’ gift will also enable the MP&E and EPD departments to jointly expand the electronic dance music artist-in-residence programing.

Making a Berklee education affordable is a primary objective outlined in Berklee’s Vision for 2025 statement. To that end, half of the funds raised through Soundbreaking: The Campaign For Berklee, will be designated for scholarships. We thank the Huangs for their gift to Soundbreaking to support Berklee’s continuing students.

“We have an obligation to help make Berklee affordable to people from all walks of life,” says Berklee’s president Roger H. Brown. “We are doing this by raising money and expanding scholarship support, which has grown from $9 million in 2003, and is forecasted to reach $47.3 million in 2017. That’s more than a 500 percent increase over 13 years.”

Nelson Huang has worked in the petroleum and real estate industries with extensive business dealings in the U.S. and Asia. He recently joined the Berklee Presidential Advisory Council and will help Berklee expand its role in China.