The U of S will grant an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to alumnus Xiaoping (Bob) Xu on June 7 at TCU Place. Since graduating from the U of S with a master’s degree in music in 1992, Xu has become a legendary lecturer, author and mentor for Chinese students studying abroad as well as one of the world’s leading venture capitalists. He has also become a dedicated philanthropist and a proud proponent of the U of S, with Xu and his wife Ling Chen donating $3-million in support of the university’s music program.
“We hold great admiration for the remarkable record of success that Mr. Xu has had in his career as an influential innovator and investor and as a mentor for international students from China heading overseas,” said U of S President Peter Stoicheff. “His passion for the U of S, his support for the fine arts here, and his encouragement of innovation by young people worldwide, make us proud to be able to bestow this honour on him.”
Xu and Chen helped establish the David L. Kaplan Music Scholarship with a $1-million donation in 2010 to provide financial support for music students at the U of S. In April, they donated another $2-million to create the David L. Kaplan Chair in Music, to develop a strings program in the department and provide music students with opportunities to travel and perform worldwide. Their commitment to the music department stems from their appreciation of the graduate education they received at U of S, and of the late professor Kaplan, who became their mentor and friend during their time on campus.
“Our education at the University of Saskatchewan was a pivotal experience that changed our lives,” said Xu. “It became the cornerstone of our faith in the profound power of education to change the world. It also broadened our horizon and enabled us to envision the future of China with a global perspective. This transformation took form under the mentorship of Dr. Kaplan, whose genuine and unconditional devotion to his students has been our inspiration and source of strength. I thought of him as a role model as I started my own career as a consultant for Chinese students who wanted to study overseas.”
Xu co-founded New Oriental Education & Technology Group in 1993, the largest provider of private education in China, training more than 15 million students. He has also established ZhenFund, China’s largest and foremost seed fund that invests in emerging start-up businesses, to help promote and support innovation among youth in China and beyond. Xu’s innovative investment strategies earned him a spot on Forbes Magazine’s Midas List of the world’s top 100 venture capitalists in 2016 and 2017.
Xu will be one of six honorary degree recipients at U of S Spring Convocation at TCU Place. He will be celebrated during the 9 am ceremony on June 7.