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E. Michael Fung, A79, A12P, initially enrolled at Tufts because he planned to be a dentist, but after two years majoring in chemistry, switched to economics. Now, the chairman of JP Morgan Private Bank, Asia, is encouraging Tufts students to follow their hearts. “Being a doctor, lawyer, or even a banker isn’t right for everyone,” he says.

Fung attended the launch event for TFN last September at JP Morgan Chase’s headquarters. Inspired by the event, the leadership of Tufts Alumni Hong Kong organized another event on finance for alumni, where Fung was among four panelists, including Moses Tsang, A06P; James Soutar, A88, and a member of the International Board of Overseers; and Paul Schulte, F88. Fung is now also a member of the International Board of Overseers — yet one more way he is helping to strengthen Tufts’ reach throughout the world.

Last year, Fung also spent time on campus with a dozen students from the Tufts Financial Group, advising them on careers in finance and private wealth management, an industry he has worked in for more than 25 years. Traveling extensively as head of Asian business development and growth strategy for JP Morgan, Fung is passionate about sharing career advice with young people.

“Mr. Fung was eager to share his experience and honest in sharing his thoughts about the current job or internship climate – allowing us a better understanding of the careers and roles that are available for current students hoping to enter the financial world,” says Maria Fulwiler, A10, president of TFG. “Mr. Fung generously and enthusiastically imparted advice about life as liberal arts students, struggling to define our career goals.”

Fung and his wife, Rose, have encouraged their daughter Sarah, A12, to sample a variety of courses in the arts and sciences before settling on a major. “At Tufts, there is such depth in a variety of fields that, whatever major you choose, you will get a high-quality education,” he says.

A $1.5 million gift from Fung has named 48 Professors Row, which is currently home of the Center for the Humanities, and establishes the E.M. Fung Humanities Fellows, a fund that will support Tufts’ ability to recruit top-flight doctoral candidates to disciplines such as drama, English, and history.

The gift is one of the largest ever received from a Tufts alumnus in Asia. Fung House will be named in honor of his parents, William and Cynthia, whose portrait will greet visitors when they enter the building.

“Graduate students in the humanities are our future teachers, scholars, and artists,” says Lynne Pepall, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. “They are at the core of any liberal arts curriculum and an integral part of our intellectual community on the Medford campus.

“The dissertation writing stage is the time when a graduate student needs the financial and intellectual support of the humanities center. When our graduate students finish their Ph.D.s and take jobs at universities across the country, and indeed the world, they are letting their colleagues in the academic world know what Tufts is all about,” Pepall says.

Fung’s gift to Tufts allowed him to “raise appreciation of the humanities” while also recognizing the “dynamism, leadership, and confidence” of Tufts students. “In my mind,” says Fung, “those are the defining qualities of Tufts students and graduates around the world.”