‘Our parents and alumni in China are true University ambassadors’

‘Our parents and alumni in China are true University ambassadors’

Group donates nearly $30,000 and more than 100,000 masks to the University of Rochester

masks getting handed out in Wilson Commons

Mask distribution outside of Wilson Commons

In response to challenges arising from COVID-19, the University of Rochester recently established two emergency funds to support its Medical Center and its students who remain on campus—80 percent of whom are international—as well as those who have other urgent needs emerging from this crisis. The University’s network of parents and alumni in China has generously responded.

By mid-April, the University’s China Parent Network Committee arranged an initial donation of 3,000 face masks for immediate distribution to students who were still on campus. The network then called upon the broader Chinese parent community—comprised of about 1,800 people—to rally more support for the University.

Collectively, that larger group raised nearly $30,000 for the University’s COVID-19 student emergency fund. About a week later, they launched an additional effort via WeChat–China’s social networking platform–that raised $43,000, which they used to purchase 100,000 surgical face masks for the Medical Center’s frontline health care staff and for students who remain on campus.

The group’s support began in early April, when Evans Lam ’83, ’84S (MBA) was actively engaging Rochester’s alumni and parent community in China. On WeChat, Lam posted, “the UR is so emphatic in caring for our international students” and “we are all partners in education.” Lam—a University trustee and chair of the George Eastman Circle, the University’s leadership annual giving society—even personally allocated $25,000 to a newly established COVID-19 student emergency fund.

“Our parents and alumni community in China are true University ambassadors,” says Alyssa Shoup ’10, ’11W (MS), senior associate director, Alumni Relations. “Here at the University we are all deeply moved by their acts of generosity. They’ve given their time to ensure fellow parents understand what is going on and they’ve demonstrated their gratitude through giving, which greatly helps our students as well as our frontline health care workers.”

Shoup adds that the University’s Taiwanese Alumni Network is also in the process of coordinating efforts to support the COVID-19 student emergency fund.

What parents had to say

“My daughter is an undergraduate here. She loves UofR, so we support! We believe UofR can go through this unsettling period of time!”

“Thanks for putting students’ safety as a priority. As a mother of a Chinese student, we trust you, appreciate everything you have done so far. Please keep us updated.”

“My daughter is one of Class 2022 students from China. In this way, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all UR faculty for their efforts after the outbreak, including open and timely communication with parents; accommodation and protection for international students. I hope this money can be used to help the infected UR students and faculty.”

“Thanks to those helping the kids through the difficult time. Take good care of yourselves too…”

“As the parents we appreciate the humanity, inclusion and diversity demonstrated by UR and also feel so grateful being part of the UR family in this challenging time.”

Read more about how Rochester alumni and friends are helping the University.

We all can do something to help. Consider donating supplies or food, giving blood (URMC is facing a critical shortage), making a gift to our COVID-19 emergency fund or support our student emergency fund.

— Kristine Thompson, April 2020