Ching Tang Named the Doris Johns Cherry Professor
Ching Tang was officially installed as the Doris Johns Cherry Professor on January 19 during a ceremony in Rush Rhees Library. His work in organic electronics has led to innovative developments in solar cells and efficient flat-panel display technology.
Ching Tang, father of the multi-billion-dollar organic light-emitting diode (OLED) industry, has been named the Doris Johns Cherry Professor. The world leader in organic electronics including OLEDs and solar cells, Tang, who also is professor of chemical engineering and of chemistry, is the first to hold the new chair.
“We are very pleased to have successfully recruited Ching Tang and welcome his timely arrival in the Department of Chemical Engineering,” says Shaw Chen, chair of the chemical engineering department. “Our commitment to new alternative energy sources and flat-panel displays will be greatly enhanced by Ching’s leadership in these fields. Other programs across engineering and the sciences also will be well served by the interdisciplinary nature of his research.”
Tang is known internationally for his pioneering work on organic solar cells and OLEDs, which is the new flat-panel display that offers superior imagery for far less power than even the most advanced LCD displays today.
In addition to the discovery of efficient OLEDs, Tang has been credited with a number of key innovations leading to the commercialization of a new flat-panel display technology, including the development of robust luminescent materials, novel color pixilation methods, fabrication processes for the manufacture of OLED displays, and the adaptation of technology for high-definition OLED displays.
Tang also is widely recognized for his seminal work early in photovoltaics, which could lead to major improvements in the ability of solar cells to capture energy from the sun. OLED and photovoltaics are like two sides of the same coin; one converts energy into light for a display, and the other converts light from the sun into energy.
“Ching Tang is the most accomplished and the highest regarded innovator in the organic electronics industry, and we’re delighted to have him as a member of our engineering program,” says Kevin Parker, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Our Department of Chemical Engineering has grown dramatically over the last few years, sporting a superb forward-looking doctoral program. Ching’s addition highlights the hallmarks of the University’s engineering, from the photonics started by the nation’s first optical doctoral program to our strategic focus on alternative energies at present.”
The professorship was established in July 2006 with a gift of $1.5 million from Doris Johns Cherry ’43, who died on January 17, 2005, and bequeathed a generous portion of her estate for unrestricted support of the University.
“Though I did not know Doris, I have learned that she made major decisions only after completing her due diligence,” says President Seligman. “The fact that she chose to leave the bulk of her estate to the University and gave us the flexibility to designate it to endow this important, named professorship is a high compliment. We will forever be grateful to Doris, and to her friend and counselor Jim Vazzana for the role he played in so carefully fulfilling her wishes.”
Cherry graduated from West High School in Rochester at 16 and earned a bachelor’s in economics from the University, where she was a member of Theta Eta Sorority. After returning to Rochester in the 1950s from Chicago, she worked at the University in the Benefits Office for eight year before joining the Wiedman & Wiedman law firm where she worked until the mid-90s.
Cherry was an active alumna, serving as communication chair for her 50th reunion in 1993. In recognition of her generosity, a tree was dedicated in her name just outside Wilson Commons.