To commemorate a $10 million gift to Otis College of Art and Design by Board of Trustees Chair Mei-Lee Ney, the North Building—which houses the College’s BFA Product Design program on its Goldsmith campus in Westchester—has been renamed the Mei-Lee Ney Design Studio.
Ney’s gift is among the largest in Otis’s history and supports the College’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion across several programs—including the Charles White Art and Design Scholarship—as well as providing support for students, faculty, and staff through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“We are thrilled to celebrate Mei-Lee’s extraordinary philanthropy, which has facilitated many of our recent DEI initiatives. We are grateful for her continued support of Otis College and our students,” says President Charles Hirschhorn.
In addition to her role as chair of Otis’s Board of Trustees, Ney also sits on the Board of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology; the USC Pacific Asia Museum; the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens; and Huntington Hospital. She is the president of Richard Ney & Associates Asset Management Inc., an investment advisory firm she has helped run with her business partner and late husband, Richard, since 1973. A native of Shanghai, China, Ney immigrated to the U.S. when she was two and was raised by a single mother. A self-made woman, Ney sometimes worked up to five jobs to put herself through college.
“It’s an honor to help provide access for underrepresented students to an art and design education at Otis College, an institution I care about deeply,” Ney said when the Charles White Art and Design Scholarship was announced last fall.
With Ney’s gift, Otis College has been able to launch several DEI initiatives over the past year, including the announcement of a new Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, who reports to President Hirschhorn and sits on the College’s senior leadership team; the launching of the Black Creatives Institute; and the announcement of a DEI statement that includes Otis’s Ten Points: Standing Up for Equity.
Main image, from left: Mei-Lee Ney photographed by James Ross Mankoff courtesy of Otis College of Art and Design; Mei-Lee Ney Design Studio photographed by Jennifer Atalla/Otis College.