College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) deceased alum Tao Gao once shared, “Be kind and compassionate to others. We are all in this together. We need each other.” Now, thanks to a scholarship fund, current and future CEC students can benefit from the kindness and compassion that Gao once shared.
Gao’s mother, Dr. Ling Gao, gifted the CEC $100,000 last month to establish a permanently endowed fund. The purpose of the Tao Gao Endowed Scholarship Fund is to provide support for undergraduate scholarships to support students with a demonstrated need for financial aid. The scholarship will be awarded by the CEC Scholarship Committee.
After graduating from high school, Gao served in the U.S. Navy before earning his bachelor's degree in computer information systems from the CEC in 2003. The Columbia native worked as an IT consultant at the South Carolina State Library and founded the web development company Live2Create Interactive, which specialized in building web and social media platforms for small businesses and non-profits. Gao also lived and worked in China for two years before returning to the Columbia. He died on Aug. 24, 2018 at age 42.
“Tao once wrote: ‘As humans, we all want to become the best versions of ourselves. We are all the same fundamentally. When united, we are powerful,’” says Ling Gao. "He loved this country, community and people. Tao was kind and hardworking with a loving heart.”