San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Charles Wei-Hsun Fu Foundation gifts $1 million to Center for Asian and Pacific Studies

The center is to receive donations to help bolster their activities and raise awareness for Asian studies
Christie Yeung
A room in San Diego State University’s Arts and Letters building is designated for the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies on December 15, 2024

The Charles Wei-Hsun Fu Foundation has committed to gifting $1 million to the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies. The donation is expected to fund scholarships, trips to Asia and presentations on campus related to Asian studies.

The money is anticipated to be funneled into the center over the next two years as it comes from the sale of a house owned by Sandra Wawrytko, a professor in the department of philosophy and president of the foundation.

“We have in the past made smaller donations for specific programs having to do with Asian studies, but nothing of this magnitude,” Wawrytko said.

Although this is expected to be done over the course of a few years, an investment of several hundred thousand dollars to develop Asian studies is also in the works according to Wawrytko.

“I think it’s a very important aspect of not just San Diego State but California,” Wawrytko said. “We’re right on the Pacific rim. Asia has magnificent culture and civilizations that go back literally thousands of years. I think there’s a lot of wisdom and a lot of practical advice that we can learn from studying Asian cultures over time.”

The foundation is named after Wawrytko’s husband, Charles Wei-Hsun Fu, who passed away in 1997. According to Wawrytko, the center is committed to developing skills related to his interests such as Asian philosophy and environmentalism.

“We are basically committed to the mission of developing things like Asian philosophy but also topics having to do with environmentalism, these are things my husband was interested in,” Wawrytko said.

Wawrytko hopes that the donation will bring much-needed attention to the center and what falls under it.

“Being in the area of Asian philosophy, I am very frustrated that there is not as much attention being paid,” Wawrytko said. “People usually don’t understand that 60% of the world’s population lives in Asia. And today, Asia of course has a very prominent role both politically, geographically (and) economically. So it is something that I believe every student should have some exposure to.”

Although the number of students with Asian studies minors has been steadily increasing for some time, the volume of students in the department is still low, according to Wawrytko. There’s also been some difficulty setting up a graduation ceremony due to these low numbers of students.

“The department is getting smaller,” Lola Fregoso, a third-year Asian studies major and student assistant for the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, said. “Like my specific major with my emphasis, I was told that there’s only actually two people in this major.”

According to Fregoso, the center is currently working to incorporate some Asian American studies to provide for more students and expand their reach.

“I think that offering money for potential scholarships are just more incentives that show the Asian studies department is still relevant,” Fregoso said.

Fregoso hopes that the donation will raise awareness of the center and support students and faculty in the department, allowing them to pursue higher education.

“This is something that we’re doing as a family foundation and it’s important for us to see this as a legacy that I think my husband would be very proud of,” Wawrytko said.

About the Contributor
Christie Yeung, Photographer
Born in Hong Kong, Christie Yeung is a first-generation transfer student who majors in journalism at San Diego State University. Prior to arriving at SDSU, she served as the Gaming/Tech Editor, Features Editor and Managing Editor of SAC Media at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California where she was placed in on-the-spot competitions such as fourth in News photo, second in Portrait photo, first in Sports photo, first in Social Media and second in News writing, along with a meritorious mention in the Enterprise News Story/Series category from Journalism Association of Community Colleges. She was also awarded second in Best Breaking News Stories by the California College Media Association. During her free time, she likes to watch European soccer games, read, listen to Cantonese-pop music and play video games and Dungeons & Dragons with her online friends. She also has a sweet tooth and cannot turn away anything with Nutella in it.