Lulu Chow Wang ’66 was Wellesley’s 2016 Commencement Speaker
Lulu Chow Wang, one of the world’s most influential women in investments and philanthropy, addressed the members of the Wellesley College Class of 2016 and an international audience of their family and friends at Wellesley’s 138th Commencement Exercises on Friday, May 27, at 10:30am.
About Lulu Chow Wang
Lulu Chow Wang was a pioneer on Wall Street and is a leader in women’s philanthropy, recognized for changing the landscape of investments and challenging the long-held assumption that women do not give to charitable causes as generously as men. (The New York Times recognized Wang in 2013 as being in the vanguard of a new wave of philanthropy as an Asian-American woman.) She is the founder and CEO of Tupelo Capital Management, a leading New York-based investment firm.
Wang is a staunch advocate of investing in women and a believer in the transformative power of an all-women’s education. In 2000, Wang and her husband, Anthony, gave a record-breaking $25 million gift to Wellesley—at that time the largest gift ever given to a women’s college. The gift funded the design and construction of the College’s campus center, where Wang sought to support “the creation of the strong bonds among students, faculty, colleagues, and alumnae that are one of the hallmarks of Wellesley College.” Affectionately nicknamed “the Lulu,” the center is beloved by students as the heart of campus.
The story of Wang’s success was featured in an episode of the PBS documentary series Makers: Women Who Make America. An English major at Wellesley, Wang initially stayed at home after marrying, but increasingly she found herself missing the intellectual engagement she had experienced at college. She found a job as an editor and earned an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, jumpstarting an astonishing career in the male-dominated world of investments. Wang went on to become executive vice president of Jennison Associates, where she managed $4 billion in assets, before founding Tupelo Capital Management. She named the firm after Wellesley’s Tupelo Point, a favorite spot on campus and the setting for the College’s Hooprolling tradition.
Lulu Chow Wang serves on the boards of MetLife Insurance Company, Columbia Business School, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rockefeller University, Asia Society, and the Chazen Institute of International Business. She also serves on the Advisory Council for U.S. Trust, is a trustee emerita of Wellesley College and New York Public Radio, and is a consulting director for the New York Community Trust, where she was the first woman to chair the Investment Committee.
Wang has received innumerable awards and honors. She was the first businesswoman to be honored at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Corporate Dinner and the first woman to be honored at Asia Society’s Entrepreneur Dinner. She has also received recognition from Girls Inc., the New York Women’s Agenda, the New York City Commission on the Status of Women, and the American Women’s Economic Development Corporation, and from Ernst and Young for entrepreneurial achievement.
Wang has kept strong ties to Wellesley, maintaining a constant leadership presence at the College and serving as a member of its board of trustees for 18 years. She was the first woman to head the board’s investment committee, which is in charge of investing the college’s endowment. Her involvement in all three of Wellesley’s major fundraising campaigns has been crucial to the College’s success.
At the October 2015 launch of the $500 million Campaign for Wellesley the College announced a historic $50 million gift, given by Wang together with a fellow Wellesley graduate, to create greater opportunity for women in the 21st century and to empower the next generation of women leaders. This unprecedented gift—the largest ever given by women to their alma mater—set in motion an ambitious College to Career Initiative.
In her spare time, Wang and her husband collect American art as well as vintage sports cars, which they restore and race.