(This is an excerpt of the press release from UC Berkeley)
The man who began his career in 1967 as an architect working on the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (originally called the University Art Museum), has chosen to honor his late father, Woo Hon Fai, and to celebrate the now-historic structure, with a major gift to the campus.
Now a successful businessman and director of the Hong Kong-based Woo Hon Fai Holdings, David Woo and his family took part in a campus event today (Monday, Dec. 19) that was given in appreciation for a $15 million gift. UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau has designated $14 million of the contribution toward the museum’s new building campaign and $1 million for an endowed faculty chair in the College of Environmental Design that will total $2 million when matched by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as part of the Hewlett Challenge for Faculty Support.
Woo graduated from UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design in 1967 and was immediately hired as the resident architect for the firm that constructed the home of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. The award-winning structure since has become a cultural hub in the Bay Area, showcasing the world’s finest art and film for hundreds of thousands of people.
Woo proposed the gift in memory of his father after the museum made public its plans to move in the coming years to a new location on Oxford Street in downtown Berkeley. University officials say the naming marks an exciting new era in the life of the Bancroft Way building, which will bear Woo Hon Fai’s name now and continue to do so after the museum moves out.
The museum will continue to be based at the Woo Hon Fai building on Bancroft Way until its new home is completed in downtown Berkeley.