April 15, 2002
Professors leave legacy of care
Two long-time professors at California
State University, Sacramento have made bequests to the University
that will have significant and lasting impact.
Chien Yuan Hu, physics, and Marda West, biological sciences,
are the most recent professors to help students through donations
from their estates.
Hu, who retired in 1992 from the physics department after
26 years, recently passed away at age 73. He left his estate,
nearly $2 million, to create a legacy that will impact not
only the physics department but his area of scholarship.
West, who passed away at 61 following a 35-year campus career,
donated the bulk of her six-figure estate to the department
of biological sciences to continue to help students.
Hu first donated a piece of property
for an endowed scholarship. The scholarship rewards excellence
by supporting a student with straight As in physics. Students
with a 3.8 GPA or above may qualify for a portion of the fund
if no other student is fully qualified.
Seeing what a difference he personally could make through
bequeathing his assets, he arranged for the rest of his estate
to benefit specific projects that he chose.
In addition to the scholarship some of the endowment's incomes
will be used to purchase a Foucault pendulum to hang in the
new Science II building when it is constructed. Funds will
also be used to purchase instructional and demonstration equipment
and to support laboratory renovations, providing students
with state-of-the-art experience and preparation.
"He wanted students to have opportunities to work on
the best equipment, and faculty to have what they need to
do their work in physics," said Marion O'Leary, dean
of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Hu regularly rode a bicycle to class and his car was a classic
Ford Mustang, which he willed to the Towe Auto Museum. He
was born in China in 1927 and passed away in December 2001.
He received his degree in philosophy in Taiwan, where he had
fled from China. He received his master's degree and doctorate
in physics from the University of Missouri.
Marda West often said that her life centered
around her students and her animal friends on campus. She
was always a strong advocate for campus animals, including
the chickens -- and is often referred to as "the mother
of the chickens" for all the care and nurturing that
she gave to them and their broods when they first arrived.
She had pet names for many of them.
O'Leary said, "She also knew the squirrels. She hand-fed
them; it was part of her afternoon routine.
"Giving was a tradition with her. She had helped students
individually for many years and she had helped support the
animals over the years," said O'Leary.
West wanted to do something meaningful with her estate and
wanted to leave something to the department, especially for
the students and the animals. She arranged to have her estate
- including her truck - go to the biology department. The
funds will be used for endowed scholarships and equipment
to benefit the department.
Although vehicles rarely are accepted by the University, the
truck has special meaning to many in the department because
West used it each week to collect fresh plant specimens for
one of her labs. Today, under the care of graduate students,
the truck is still making those trips.
West joined the faculty in 1966. She earned her undergraduate
degree from what is now California State University, Long
Beach, and a master's degree and doctorate from the University
of California, Los Angeles.
More information about giving a gift to CSUS is available
at (916) 278-6989 or www.csus.edu/pubaf/givingagift.
Additional media assistance is available at (916) 278-6156.
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public affairs at (916) 278-6156. For ticketed events, call
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