Hello readers! My name is Timothy Berggren and I’m new to the blog this year. I transferred into Haas from Monterey Peninsula College last year, which has been a challenging but rewarding experience thus far. To add some flavor to my undergraduate experience, I decided to study abroad in Melbourne, Australia this semester and will be writing more about that in coming posts. I look forward to sharing my insights with you all and I hope you enjoy the blog this year!
If you haven’t heard of the new Berkeley-Haas building, Connie and Kevin Chou Hall, where have you been??
This beautiful addition, which is completely community-funded, is dedicated to growing and enhancing the student learning experience. Chou Hall’s 6 stories, 8 tiered classrooms, 28 study rooms and 300-person event space was designed by Perkins+Will and supports Haas’ goal of zero-waste. Ten Percent of building materials are from recycled content, 75% of construction waste will be recycled or salvaged, and water use is reduced by 40%. Its café has outdoor seating amongst towering redwoods and its view of the Bay Area is absolutely breathtaking.
Students and faculty are raving about the new facilities, and not just because of the whiteboard walls. Brad Brenner, Haas UG class of 2018, said,“the new building is beyond lit, it’s honestly next level stuff it’s so rad.” Clearly, Chou Hall is by far one of the coolest buildings on UC Berkeley’s campus, but who are Connie and Kevin Chou?
Kevin Chou is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and ex-venture capitalist. He received his bachelor’s degree from Berkeley-Haas in 2002 and has been intimately involved with the community ever since. He started his career in banking, moved to startups, then venture capital, and finally found his passion in entrepreneurship. His first company, Kabam, became a global leader in online and mobile gaming before being acquired for nearly $1 Billion. His second entrepreneurial venture and current project, KSV eSports, combines the tech savvy of Silicon Valley with the prominent Korean gaming culture to represent the next generation of eSports.
Dr. Connie Chen is a physician, entrepreneur, and angel investor. She received her MD in Health and Society from UCSF and founded the UCSF Health Technology Interest Group. She worked as the Digital Health & Innovation Principal at Kaiser Permanente before moving onto her current role as Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Vida Health. She is passionate about making medicine more compassionate, affordable, and patient-centered with new breakthrough technologies.
Connie and Kevin Chou boast impressive resumes, but that alone doesn’t earn your name on a building. The couple shares many interests – technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and above all, philanthropy. Their gift of up to $25 million helped finalize the funding needed to finish the construction of the building. In fact, this is the largest personal gift to UC Berkeley by an alumnus under the age of 40. For comparison, Bill Gates didn’t start sharing his wealth until he was 45!
So why the generous donation at such a young age?
Kevin Chou is committed to supporting the Haas School of Business in its mission to provide the best quality public education. To solidify this commitment, he signed the Berkeley Founders’ Pledge, a non-binding pledge to donate a portion of his venture’s wealth to the university. Dr. Chen said, “We’re excited about bringing together students of all backgrounds – not just business students – to formulate ideas that will improve the world.” Talk about going Beyond Yourself! Chou has fond memories of his time at Berkeley-Haas and made this donation to show his gratitude for the lasting impact the school had on him. From a current student’s perspective, the new building is definitely making a lasting impact and will continue to do so for years to come. Although I am not in Berkeley to experience the building first-hand, I’ve heard great things and can’t wait to return in the spring to sit under the redwoods at the new building.
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