A gift from biotech entrepreneur Kevin Xu ’11 will establish the Rongxiang Xu Regenerative Life Science Lab and the Kevin Xu Chair in Gerontology at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.
Dean Pinchas Cohen announced the gift at a Dec. 12 dedication and installation ceremony attended at Town and Gown by USC administrators, elected officials and the school’s leaders, faculty and students.
Xu’s gift, which ranks among the school’s largest endowed gifts, will support its mission to promote healthy aging for individuals, communities and societies through leadership and innovation in research, education and practice.
“Kevin and his late father, Rongxiang Xu, have demonstrated a commitment to leveraging scientific discoveries to improve the quality of life for current and future generations,” Cohen said. “This generous gift will have an immediate impact in allowing us to advance research and innovation toward this shared goal.”
The Dean’s Medallion bestowed
Rongxiang Xu was a trained surgeon who specialized in developing novel wound therapy treatments. His research in tissue repair and regeneration led to multiple U.S. patents and the growth of the multinational company MEBO International. Kevin Xu is the company’s CEO.
Cohen presented Li Li, Rongxiang Xu’s widow and Kevin’s mother, with the Dean’s Medallion — the highest honor the school can bestow on partners and supporters — for her instrumental role in recognizing and enabling the USC Davis School’s research in aging across the life span. Li, who began her career in pediatrics, serves as chairman and president of the Rongxiang Xu Foundation.
My parents’ example inspired me to help others.
“My parents’ example inspired me to help others; what they gave me was more than a piece of advice — it was a way to live,” Kevin Xu said. “As our global population ages, I am proud to support the USC Davis School as they make research breakthroughs and train the next generation of gerontology leaders and entrepreneurs.”
This gift is part of continued USC Davis support from the Xu family, including an earlier pledge from Xu and his wife, Leah Yang MA ’13, establishing the Brighten Award for Entrepreneurial Gerontology, named in honor of their son and designed to spur the development of products and services to improve the lives of older persons and their families.
As part of the installation ceremony, Cohen presented Xu and USC Davis Professor George Shannon with miniature replica chairs to symbolize the establishment of the newly named position. Shannon, who earned his PhD in gerontology from USC after a three-decade acting career, has been named the inaugural holder of the chair and will serve as the director of the newly named lab. His current work aims to promote physical, spiritual and mental well-being among people of all ages.
“I am honored to be appointed to this position,” said Shannon, who taught Xu when he was a student at USC. “The Rongxiang Xu Lab, Kevin Xu Chair and Brighten Award are intergenerational testaments to the importance of the field of gerontology and USC’s leadership in the field.”