Andrew and Peggy Cherng are founders of Panda Restaurant Group, which owns the popular Asian fusion fast food chain Panda Express, but now their names are going to go down for something even more important to society, according to a recent Caltech press release. With a $30 million donation to Caltech's medical engineering department, which will now be known as The Andrew and Peggy Cherng Department of Medical Engineering.
The Cherng Department of Medical Engineering will be the first of Caltech's 21 departments to be named and endowed, and the gift is part of a $2 billion fundraising initiative called "Break Through: The Caltech Campaign" "to secure Caltech's future as a source of transformative discovery for the world." And Peggy Cherng is understandably enthusiastic about the history and future potential of the department that now carries her name:
"We are here to build the American dream, but not just for us. We want to give to the right cause, and medical engineering will help others. I see Caltech helping to create a bright future ahead."
Part of the Cherng's gift towards The Andrew and Peggy Cherng Department of Medical Engineering will go towards a leadership chair fund for quick discretionary spending in order "to advance the most promising research and educational initiatives." The research handled within the department include the fields of diagnostics, therapeutics, implants, non-invasive imaging, and more.
This is far from the first significant donation made by the Cherngs, who started a philanthropic arm of their restaurant business called Panda Cares in 1999. Through Panda Cares, they've made contributions supporting not just healthcare but disaster relief and education as well – and if you've been in a Panda Express, you might have noticed the prominently displayed donation boxes and cash register donation appeals that resulted in $21 million in Panda Express guest donations in 2016.