Fok family donates $2.5M; Alumni House to be renamed Fok’s Hall

President Jim Tressel presents a glass penguin to Maria M.L. Fok, widow of the late Thomas Fok, whose framed photo is on the table in the background. The Fok family has donated $2.5 million to YSU.

President Jim Tressel presents a glass penguin to Maria M.L. Fok, widow of the late Thomas Fok, whose framed photo is on the table in the background. The Fok family has donated $2.5 million to YSU.

The Fok family is donating $2.5 million to Youngstown State University in memory of the late Thomas Fok, who served as a faculty member and as a trustee for both YSU and the YSU Foundation.

“On behalf of every one of us at YSU, I want to thank Mrs. Fok for her generosity and for ensuring her husband’s lasting legacy at Youngstown State University,” YSU President Jim Tressel said.

The gift from Fok’s wife, Maria M.L. Fok, will be used, in part, to establish the Thomas and Maria Fok Scholarship.

In recognition of the gift, YSU will rename Alumni House on Wick Avenue as Fok’s Hall. Alumni House, constructed in 1865, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Thomas Fok was born July 1, 1921, in Canton, China, the son of Tat-Hing and Choi (Tsai) Fok. Fok earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the National Tung-Chi University of China in 1945 and a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1948. In 1950, he received a master’s of Business Administration degree in Corporate Finance and Statistics from New York University, and in 1956 her earned a PhD in Civil Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University. Two years later, he joined the YSU faculty as associate professor of Civil Engineering. He taught at YSU until 1967. During his tenure, he was appointed director of the Computing Center and, in 1966, received the Walter E. and Caroline H. Watson Foundation Distinguished Professor’s Award.

In 1967, Fok started his own business, forming a partnership in Mosure-Fok Consulting Engineers. In 1976, he served as chairman of his own business, Thomas Fok and Associates. He was an active member of American Society of Civil Engineers, where he served as president and was named Outstanding Civil Engineer in 1984, the Mahoning Valley Technical Societies Council, where he had served as president received its Outstanding Person Award in 1987 and had served as the president of the Mahoning Valley Society of Professional Engineers.

Always active in the community, Fok was a member, past president and Paul Harris Fellow with the Rotary Club of Austintown, served on the board of directors of the Austintown Community Council, served as a trustee of the Youngstown and Mahoning County Public Library, the YSU Foundation, the YSU Board of Trustees serving as chairman from 1981 to 1983 and was a member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. He died in August 2013.