A foundational gift has endowed and named the Cornell Mui Ho Center for Cities in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP), advancing research, teaching and partnerships dedicated to fostering more sustainable and just cities.
The largest single gift to AAP to date, in the amount of $25 million, from Mui Ho ’62, B.Arch. ’66, builds on initial support that helped establish the center two years ago. The new funding secures in perpetuity the center’s long-term future and strengthens its mission to catalyze urban transformation through actionable knowledge about how to better plan, design and build thriving cities.
Leveraging AAP’s creative capacities and core expertise in design, the built environment and urban planning, the center aims to help policymakers, communities and other collaborators address urgent challenges facing cities around the world – from climate adaptation to urban mobility to clean air and water.
“This remarkable gift will expand the capacity of Cornell’s world-class experts in architecture, art and planning to shape cities that are more sustainable and livable for all of their inhabitants,” said President Martha E. Pollack. “I’m deeply grateful to Mui for her inspiring vision and her extraordinary commitment to AAP and Cornell.”
Ho, an architect and retired educator whose philanthropy previously enabled design of the Mui Ho Fine Arts Library at AAP, said she expects the center to galvanize the college’s three departments around the most complex urban challenges, and to connect that work to cities whose populations – and problems – are growing.
Ho said she’s excited to partner with Meejin Yoon ’95, the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of AAP, on such a critical vision for the college and its disciplines. The center, she said, illustrates how architecture, as a humanist discipline, is deeply embedded in everything from the economy to the natural environment.
“I see the center as an invitation for experts at Cornell and from all over the world to join in advancing AAP’s human values, excellence in design education and innovative research to effect change in cities now and in the future,” Ho said.
Added Yoon: “I have long admired Mui for her extraordinary generosity and no-nonsense humility, but also because she lives her values every day. Mui has a fierce belief in humanity and the collective responsibility of architects, artists and planners to build a more just, resilient and sustainable world. An architect and longtime educator herself, Mui’s gift to the college and vision for its future draws parallels with her dedication to seeing and serving need with design, and preparing the next generation to not only design spaces and buildings, but to make places and build community.”