Frederic Chewming Chang Endowment
Dr. Frederic Chewming Chang

Frederic Chewming Chang Endowment


The strong foundation of Sun Yat-sen University was built on the shoulders of many early excellent leaders of the yesteryears. One of those leaders was Dr. Frederic Chewming Chang, who started as a professor of Chemistry and later served as the Department Chairman of the then Lingnan University during a tumultuous time of China’s history.

In order to maintain the tradition of excellence and to become a world-class institution, the Sun Yat-sen University and Lingnan University Hong Kong require continued and consistent support for further enhancement and improvement in curriculum, research, teaching, and leadership development of faculty and staff. The Frederic Chewming Chang Endowment Fund is established with this vision and goals to commemorate Dr. Chang’s significant contributions in Chemistry through his research and leadership as well as his sacrifices made in building a Chemistry department that withstood the test of time.

The purpose of the Frederic Chewming Chang Fund is to underwrite opportunities, programs, and other initiatives for the growth and development of the School of Chemistry in China’s higher education institutions. Grants will be awarded to colleges and universities with proposals that meet the criteria for the Fund. Faculty, administrators, and staff who are most promising and deserving of professional development opportunities will be chosen to participate in Frederic Chewming Chang Fellowships.

Preference will be given to applicants from SunYat-sen University and Lingnan College in Hong Kong. These programs and/or fellowship opportunities may vary depending on available funding and the proposed leadership development opportunities ranging from professional development abroad in National and/or U.S. university chemistry laboratories.

Pending on available funding, the Frederic Chewming Chang Endowment Fund may grant the following opportunities but not limited to:

1. Chang Research Fellowship– innovative research projects related to field of chemistry.
2. Chang Fellowships for Scholars –semester or short-term study abroad professional development experience for promising young faculty members.
3. Chang Fellowship for Graduate Students or Post-Doctoral fellows– Semester for research/academic opportunities related to the field of Chemistry.


Lingnan has a history of fostering great leaders whose dedication over many decades and generations to the Lingnan Universities and the Lingnan Foundation has led to their institutional excellence and reputation. One of such great leaders is Dr. Frederic Chewming Chang.

Born in San Francisco, Dr. Chang completed his undergraduate and graduate study in Chemistry from Columbia University. At age 25, he was assigned by his father to take his three younger brothers from San Francisco to the Waku School (school for overseas Chinese) in Lingnan to further their studies in Chinese. Enroute to Canton, he met a friend, W.T. Chan, who was then a Dean at Lingnan. W. T. Chan recruited him to join the faculty in the Dept. of Chemistry and he agreed to do so for a “short time”.

He stayed longer than planned. He married May Leung in 1932 at the home of W.T. Chan and several years later son Fred Jr. and then daughter Laura were born.

Following the Japanese invasion, Dr. Chang returned to the US in 1938 to study organic chemistry at Harvard University and earned his Ph.D. in 1942. His work on an anti-malarial drug was instrumental in saving many lives during the WWII. His third child Kara Chang was born in 1943.

Determined to sacrifice a promising future in the United States and to help China, Dr. Chang returned to China in 1946 immediately after the end of World War II. Under Provost Dr. Henry Frank’s leadership, Dr. Chang served as professor and later as department chair for the Chemistry department until 1949 when the Communist revolution occurred. Dr. Chang and his family were fortunate to escape and returned to the U.S in 1950. It is evident and undeniable that Dr. Chang’s leadership in the 1930’s and 1940’s served a solid foundation and spring board for Sun Yet-sen University’s Chemistry Department of today.

Dr. Chang continued his accomplished academic career at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine with outstanding research in organic chemistry as well as receiving multiple NIH grants. His work was centered on detecting and treating cancer by modifiying organic compounds (some derived from Oriental herbs which he had read about in the Chinese literature). He later continued his work at the University of South Alabama, Mobile and Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California where he and May retired. He was the author of several books and many publications in national and international peer reviewed journals.

Dr. Chang’s amazing long and outstanding career in chemistry continued well into his 80’s and he passed away on his 90th birthday on August 5, 1995.

Central to Dr. Chang’s legacy was his initial start at the Lingnan University where he was exposed to the “Lingnan Spirit” of education for service, which transcends generations. Under different circumstances, Dr. Chang may have stayed and continued his desire to build a world class chemistry department in China. He continued his devotion to Lingnan by serving on the Board of Trustees of the Lingnan Foundation for over 20 years. His son Dr. Fred Chang continued that Lingnan spirit and also served on that same Board until 2010.