Alumna Honors Father's Teaching Legacy with Gift

Yien-I Tu
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Yien-I Tu

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – An emeritus faculty member’s legacy in the Sam M. Walton College of Business is being recognized with a $50,000 contribution from his daughter. Alumna Amy Tu has chosen to establish the Dr. Yien-I Tu Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of her father’s career at the University of Arkansas, with scholarship support assisting graduate students who plan to pursue economics as a profession. 

Yien-I Tu earned a bachelor in economics from Taiwan University in 1953 and a master’s degree and doctorate in economics from Iowa State in 1961. He was an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Kentucky and University of Calgary prior to accepting an offer to join the faculty of the economics department at the University of Arkansas in 1968. He and his wife, Cecilia, embraced the opportunity and moved from Calgary to Fayetteville. Professor Tu specialized in microeconomics and agricultural economics teaching in the Department of Economics for Walton College for 31 years until his retirement in 1999.

“The University of Arkansas has always been a central part of our entire family and has always supported us,” Amy Tu said. “When the university offered that initial job to my dad, he was very excited because he was then given the opportunity to do something he loved. He dedicated his life to his family and to his students, so we wanted to give something back to help those who have helped us.”

The fund will reward outstanding doctoral students in the Department of Economics by awarding a scholarship in a student’s fifth year of study. Tu said this was meaningful to her because an extra year gives additional time for a student to further publish research, often resulting in better job opportunities at top universities. Tu said awarding the scholarship to a student who plans to pursue economics as a profession was an important stipulation and a nod to her father’s own career.

“Dr. Tu was a senior faculty member when I joined the department as a young assistant professor,” said Bill Curington, chair of the economics department. “I especially remember the doctoral students talking about how helpful he was with econometric and statistical issues in their dissertation research. So, I think it is fitting that this scholarship continues his legacy of helping the department’s doctoral students.

“The economics job market is particularly competitive, and our students have much more success if they have research papers accepted in academic journals,” Curington said. “The review and revision process that leads to a paper’s acceptance often takes a year or more. So, in some cases, a student staying with us for a fifth year makes all the difference in their job placement. Good job placement, along with the research productivity of the faculty, help the department recruit better doctoral students. This scholarship will be an important element of the faculty’s strategic plan to enhance the department’s reputation and, thus, the reputation of the Walton College and University of Arkansas.”

Tu and her brother, Andy, are graduates of the university. Amy Tu is a graduate of Wellesley College and a 1996 graduate of the U of A School of Law and was named the Arkansas Alumni Association’s Johnson Fellow in 2013. She is the chief counsel of aviation services and business development for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Seattle, a member of the Arkansas Alumni Association and a director of the association’s National Board of Directors.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Jennifer Holland, director of development communications
University Relations


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