The Chen Fellowship

My grandparents created the Chen Fellowship in order to help Chinese students study as USC into perpetuity. After my grandfather passed away in 1991, my grandmother has personally been managing the Chen Fellowship herself. Recently when looking through my things, I found this letter sent by my grandmother while I was working in South Dakota at Gateway. At the time she wrote this letter, she was 93 years old. It is amazing how lucid and clear she was at the age.

April 21, 1996

Dear Robert,

I am pleased in your busy schedule, you were able to visit Los Angeles for two days. I am also happy you could join us for your Father’s 68th birthday party.

Your mother asked Jimmy Li to buy 200 shares of Gateway stock for me. This gives my the pleasure of reading your annual report. It is wonderful that Gateway has grown so rapidly in 10 years period. You, as one of the vice presidents, has contributed toward its success and prosperity. Congratulations.

Once you told me that Gateway is paying you well for your work. Your mother often said “Money does not mean a thing to Robert.” I am glad that you are doing well at your young age. With all the money that you have, I would interested to to help me build up the Chen Fellowship at USC? In the past, you had contributed $500 each year. Here after I hope you can contribute more. Of course, this contribution is income tax deductible. If you do not want to do more, it will not hurt our relationship at all.

You know last July 14th, I have paid the balance of a million dollars toward the Chen Fellowship. The original fund was only about $440,000, which produces only $22,000 in interest last year. We had to pay the graduate school $25,000. Dr. Franklin made up the balance for me. This year the graduate school asks us to pay $25,847. Dr. Franklin is going to pay $25,847 in August for the recipient of the Chen Fellowship for 1996. I have to pay the amount to the man who got the Chen Fellowship in 1995. Since 1995, I have decided to give two years support here after.

I have no trouble to pay that amount. The money I gave to USC in 1994-1995 was in “Life Trust”. USC is paying me 11 percent annually. So I have an income over $50,000 from USC every year. I give half ??? for a second year fellowship, and I still have a little over $25,000 to spend. I am considering to give $100,000 in the form of a life trust. As long as Dr. Franklin and I are still alive, we have no trouble to continue the Fellowship. I want the project to continue even after Dr. Franklin and I both go. So we need some surplus. Aside from financial support for the future, I want you to contact USC graduate school each year to see whether the project is carrying out properly. (After I go)

Thanks to Grandpa’s talent and ability to make a good living for the family, I am financially very comfortable. I have allotted $600,000 as your Mother’s inheritance from her father, tax free. There will be another $600,000 tax free inheritance from me. So your parents are going to financially well off. I will also ask them to look after the Chen Fellowship after I go.

My type writer broke down, so gave them away. Sorry you have to read a hand written letter.

Mr. Yang the artist is still here. His son is getting married on July 13th. I would appreciate if you can take a picture of that big Eagle, so I can show it to him.