For K.C. Ting, former head of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE), working in higher education has always been about finding small ways to give back to an educational system that he says “prepared him for life.” During his time at Illinois and now at Zhejiang University in China, Ting focused on connecting students to opportunities that provide a holistic educational experience, preparing them for success in both their professional and personal lives. Ting served as department head of ABE from 2004 to 2016 and is currently professor and vice dean of the International Campus at Zhejiang University.
Ting stumbled into a career in agricultural and biological engineering by happenstance after taking a placement test upon graduation from high school. Today, looking back more than 50 years later, he says that the opportunity to pursue higher education “changed his life.” Ting describes his post-secondary educational experiences, including his doctoral studies at the University of Illinois, as enlightening, fueling his passion to invest in students.
Recently, Ting and his wife, Shuchuang, have advanced their impact with a gift that supports scholarships for students studying agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Illinois. He says that supporting students in this way shows that the university is invested in their success.
“Students are why we are here to start with. Anything we can do to help students succeed, that is what we are there to do,” Ting says. He hopes this kind of support will be inspiring.
The inspiration Ting intends for his gift to provide extends beyond the student impact. He hopes that it will beckon others to also give. “To recruit, retain, and enhance students’ education, it requires support,” Ting says. He believes that advancement and development efforts are crucial to the department, college, and university.
“This (gift) is not about me,” he concludes. “It is about the Department of ABE and our students.”