Run Run Shaw, the philanthropist who couldn't stop giving

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 January, 2014, 4:14am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 January, 2014, 5:13am

Sir Run Run Shaw was better known on the mainland as a philanthropist because of his generous support for the nation's education and medical sectors over more than two decades.

Since 1985, he had given hundreds of millions of dollars to fund schools and build campuses for at least 20 universities. Buildings and schools named after him have sprung up in almost every province in recent decades.

Among those that have benefited from his donations are the Run Run Shaw Primary School in Xiangtan , Hunan ; teaching buildings in the Tibetan Traditional Medical College in Lhasa , Tibet , and Inner Mongolia Hulunber Mengyi School in northern China.

"His donations helped make education more accessible to the ordinary people on the mainland," Zhou Yaoming, former president of Guangzhou-based Jinan University, said.

Zhou was one of the school officials involved in the Shaw Foundation's donation to Jinan University, where the late movie mogul helped build a stadium with HK$10 million in 1989.

"We were short of almost everything in the university, especial funds for school construction," Zhou recalled.

By 2012, Sir Run Run had donated at least HK$4.75 billion to more than 6,000 education-related projects, China News Service reported, making him one of Hong Kong's most generous donors.

"Shaw's fund is the longest-lasting education donation [on the mainland], with the largest amount of donations and number of projects involved," Hao Ping, deputy minister of education, was quoted as saying in 2012.

In 2007, at the age of 100, Shaw received an honorary award by the Ministry of Civil Affairs for his lifetime's achievement in philanthropy.

One of Sir Run Run Shaw's most generous donations was to Zhejiang University. Shaw was born in Ningbo , Zhejiang , in 1906 or 1907. Since 1985, he had given HK$341 million to the university to build a hospital, a science museum, two medical institutes, two stadiums and three teaching buildings.

In September, the Shaw Foundation announced its latest donation - HK$200 million for Zhejiang University's two medical institutes over the next two years to "push forward medical education reform and cultivate medical talent".

The university's Run Run Shaw Hospital is one of the first mainland hospitals to be accredited for its medical quality by the World Health Organisation-authorised Joint Commission International.