Xin Liu, an OHIO alumna, heads the Enlight Foundation, a charitable organization.

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Enlight Foundation gives $1.9M to Scripps at Ohio University

The Enlight Foundation, a California nonprofit directed by Ohio University alumna Xin Liu, and her husband Yong Ping Duan, has given a total of $1.9 million to students and programs in the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University.

The gift of $1.35 million will fund fellowships for graduate students of Chinese origin to study in various Scripps programs, support a faculty travel exchange program with Chinese universities, enhance technology in VisCom and supplement the original fund established in 2007.

In 2007, the foundation gave $550,000 to the School of Visual Communication (VisCom) to fund a scholarship for an undergraduate or graduate student of Chinese origin and a fellowship for a graduate student of Chinese origin wishing to study photojournalism at Ohio University.

“Xin and Ping’s generosity will create transformational opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff in the Scripps College,” said Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis. “We thank them for this visionary gift that continues to strengthen our international partnerships and lift up our Scripps College and Ohio University.”

Dean of the Scripps College of Communication Gregory Shepherd echoed McDavis’ gratitude.

“I am very grateful to Xin and Ping for their generous support and how it will bolster our particular desire to build a strong presence and partnerships in China,” said Shepherd. “They are very special people, forward-thinking and caring.  I should also note that a significant portion of this gift will go toward funding technology purchases in our School of Visual Communication, helping to ensure that students in Xin's former program continue to receive the world's best education in visual communication."

Liu said she feels a need to give back to students of Ohio University after she was awarded a full scholarship to complete her master’s program, which she was able to do in one year. She also worked part-time to cover living expenses and now wishes she had had more time to simply study and to more fully enjoy American culture.

"I'm trying to help students make ends meet to give them more time to focus on their studies, socialize with their American friends and learn more about the culture," she said after she and Duan made the first gift in 2007. "I wish I had had the luxury to do that."
Liu said seeing the first two fellows graduate and begin work in the field has inspired her and Duan to focus more of the foundation’s funding on Ohio University.

“We’re proud of Ohio University and what VisCom has contributed to the endowment program, and we want to extend that to the whole college and its programs,” she said.

VisCom Director Terry Eiler accompanied Liu on a visit to Chinese universities earlier this year and is most excited that the gift will help to create partnerships between VisCom and Chinese universities.

“When I lectured with Xin at Renmin University last May, it was a personal thrill to share her success with her former undergraduate faculty and current students,” he said. “We welcomed our third Enlight Fellow, Junru Huang, to VisCom this fall.”

Liu believes the faculty exchange program helps students and programs at both Ohio University and universities in China. She also hopes the technology funding aspect of the recent gift will have a huge impact on students.

“Technology is changing so dramatically and forcing trends in the industry,” Liu said. “I know VisCom and the college are always advanced in the field technology-wise, and we wanted to support that so that when students go into the field, they are equipped with the most advanced technology of the moment and can learn the job from there. It’s never-ending change, and it’s everyday. That’s the life we’re facing, and the innovation is exciting.”

Scripps Director of Development JR Blackburn said the amount of the gift will boost the college’s international prestige and impact. He was impressed by Liu and Duan’s commitment to benefit students.

“Xin and Ping are consummate donors in that they are sure of their intentions and their desires to help students from China to earn the education needed to make their dreams a reality in the U.S.,” Blackburn said. “I truly enjoyed meeting great people who were not afraid to be generous, while also being very focused on what they wanted their gift to accomplish.”

Liu said the Foundation’s recent gift was also prompted by a desire to bring more students from China to help produce more globally minded social entrepreneurs.

“Our foundation is also working with many American universities and organizations such as FeelGood World because we want to get more college students involved in programs that help to produce social entrepreneurs with a global view of the world and the culture surrounding them,” Liu said. “Supporting students who come from China is part of that bigger picture that we see.”

Shepherd said the college has long supported and educated students from throughout the world, and is grateful that this gift will enable even more students to study in Scripps programs.

“Scripps has a long and proud history of being an educational home to international students,” he said. “Those students enrich our programs every bit as much as our programs benefit them.