Binghamton University has received $5.6 million from the S.H. Ho Foundation to support innovative faculty research.

The funding, amounting to $200,000 per year, stands as the most substantial contribution the University has ever received from an external organization and will go toward research in health services and technology. Potential awardees will be evaluated by a committee within BU, with final selections being made by University President Harvey Stenger, Provost Donald Hall and Vice President for Research Bahgat Sammakia.

“This gift is a powerful endorsement of faculty excellence and an important investment in research opportunities that will have real-world impact,” Stenger said. “We deeply appreciate this transformational gift to enhance [BU].”

Grants will be awarded through an application process that will begin this fall, and funding is expected to be awarded as soon as January 2024. Hall described how the donation will affect the University and its recipients in a statement to BingUNews.

“Donors advance faculty success and help elevate the University’s reputation for innovative and meaningful research,” Hall said. “This crucial support fosters an environment in which [BU’s] top-ranked researchers can launch or further their projects and could result in the next great breakthroughs in technology or health sciences.”

The Ho Foundation was founded by David and Martha Ho MA ‘78, also the co-owners of Pacific BMW in California. The Ho’s also serve as Campaign Committee members for EXCELERATE, an initiative dedicated to enrich student experiences and faculty research.

Martha Ho reflected on her personal experience as a BU student that led her to want to provide others with a similar education.

“My [BU] education was first-rate,” Ho said. “We are proud to be a part of EXCELERATE and all of the exciting developments to give students access to an exceptional education and to expand opportunities for dynamic and collaborative research discoveries.”

The Ho’s have a history of philanthropy at BU, having previously instituted a scholarship program geared toward bolstering recruitment and retention at the University. Their scholarship focuses on aiding high-achieving freshmen from New York state.

Téa Hokanson, a freshman majoring in biology, said the contribution reflects the commitment of alumni.

“As a student, knowing that our professors will have the resources to further their research tells me how dedicated alumni are toward BU,” Hokanson said. “This gift doesn’t just fund research — it invests in the collective future of the University, [and its] peers and professors.”

David Chen, a sophomore majoring in biology, expressed that enhanced research will help professors better connect with their students.

“It’s a reminder that our education isn’t just about textbooks and lectures,” Chen said. “More funding for research projects means that more students can take interest in assisting professors in their research projects which will further their academic careers.”