Former Butler University President Bobby Fong passed away Monday, September 8, in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Butler’s President from 2001 to 2011, Fong had just begun his fourth academic year as President of Ursinus College there.
“Dr. Fong’s decade of service as our University’s twentieth president forever changed Butler for the better, and we are deeply grateful for his legacy of excellence,” said Butler President James Danko. “During his tenure, he led major initiatives that strengthened Butler’s academics, campus infrastructure, and stewardship.”
Further information and details on Butler memorial remembrances of Dr. Fong and services are forthcoming.
When he became president of Butler on June 1, 2001, Fong was one of only 20 Asian-American college presidents in the country. A Harvard-educated Oscar Wilde scholar from Oakland, California, he taught English and served in academic administration at Berea College (Kentucky), Hope College (Michigan), and Hamilton College (New York) before joining Butler.
Under Fong, Butler achieved successive balanced budgets and record years for endowment growth, freshman enrollment, and fundraising, including $154 million in the ButlerRising Human Capital Campaign. Several campus structures and renovations were completed, including the Apartment Village student housing, the Health and Recreation Complex, the Efroymson Diversity Center, a new Butler Bowl press box, and a 40,000-square-foot lab and classroom addition to the Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building.
Fong championed improved campus-community relationships, more experiential-learning opportunities, equitable employee compensation, and active recruitment of minority students and faculty. He considered Butler’s invitation to establish a Phi Beta Kappa chapter in 2010, and the increase in the University’s graduation rate from 62 percent to 73 percent over the decade, as two significant highlights of his term.
Fong’s earlier life was detailed in this video created in 2001.
Fong is survived by his wife, Suzanne, and their sons Jonathan and Nicholas (“Colin”).