“We are very grateful to Melissa Dongmin Ma and Robin Li for serving as a remarkable example of how giving to higher education can transform our world.”
In 2013, Melissa Dongmin Ma and Robin Li, MS '94, co-founder of China’s search-engine giant Baidu.com, made a gift of $200,000 to fund a laboratory in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the University at Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The Robin Li Data Mining and Machine Learning Laboratory will be located in Davis Hall on the North Campus.
Liesl Folks, dean of the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, thanked the couple for their generosity.
“This gift ensures the school can continue to pursue significant research while we proceed on an upward trajectory of excellence,” Folks said. "“We are very grateful to Melissa Dongmin Ma and Robin Li for serving as a remarkable example of how giving to higher education can transform our world. We are proud to call them our partners as we embark on an exciting future as a premier 21st century research university.”
Robin Yanhong Li, co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Baidu Inc., the Chinese-language equivalent of Google, oversees the company's overall strategy and business operations. He studied information management at Peking University and earned a master’s degree from UB, where he studied at the Center of Excellence for Document Analysis and Recognition (CEDAR), learning about vector space models used to interpret word recognition results.
Li has received many honors in China and in the U.S., including designations for his business leadership from BusinessWeek and Fortune magazines. TIME Magazine named Li as one of the World's Most Influential People in 2010. UB bestowed its George W. Thorn Award—for graduates under 40 who have made notable contributions to their fields—on Li in 2006.