Dominican receives $2 million bequest from Yin estate

Dominican University of California has received a $2 million bequest from the estate of H.B. Yin and Dominican alumna Lillian L.Y. Wang Yin, Ph.D. The gift – the largest ever individual gift supporting Dominican’s science program – will provide student tuition assistance and faculty support in the University's Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Lillian Yin Class of '51 photo“H.B. and Lillian Yin have made a lasting tribute to the people and programs at Dominican,” said President Joseph R. Fink. “Thanks to their vision and generosity, their tremendous legacy will advance the education of future science students for generations to come.”

The gift will establish The Lillian L.Y. Wang Yin, Ph.D. Endowed Professorship in Chemistry. In addition, the fund will significantly augment The Lillian L.Y. Wang Yin, Ph.D. (Chemistry, Class of 1951) Scholarship Fund, originally established by H.B. Yin in 2002 in honor of his wife. Dr. Yin died in 2000. Mr. H.B. Yin died in 2010.

Dr. Lillian Yin was born in Shanghai, China and moved to the United States in 1948.  She graduated from Dominican in 1951 with a B.S. in chemistry.  She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and completed postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania, Hahnemann Medical College, the Medical College of the University of Pennsylvania, and the State University of New York. 

Following her education, Dr. Yin enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the sciences.  She joined the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1968 as a laboratory research chemist.  After advancing to several director level roles within the FDA, Dr. Yin served as the Director of the Division of Reproductive, Abdominal, Ear, Nose and Throat, and Radiological Devices from 1979 to 1999. She led the team that created the FDA’s product development protocol process, winning a Hammer Award in 1999.  That same year she joined the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and, shortly before her death in September 2000, she worked for the Office of Regulatory Affairs coordinating efforts on human subject protection and clinical investigators.  Dr. Yin was a pioneer who pursued a career in science when few students at Dominican – and few women anywhere – did so.

The Lillian L.Y. Wang Yin, Ph.D. Endowed Professorship in Chemistry will recognize an outstanding faculty member whose field of study is chemistry and who is not currently on the Dominican faculty.  The term of appointment is for six years, and is renewable.

“The holder of The Lillian L.Y. Wang Yin, Ph.D. Endowed Professorship in Chemistry shall contribute to the scholarly activity of the science program and add to the enrichment of the academic life of the campus as a whole,” said Dr. Sibdas Ghosh, chair of Dominican’s Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The Lillian L.Y. Wang Yin, Ph.D. (Chemistry, Class of 1951) Scholarship Fund provides tuition assistance to undergraduate students pursuing a major in chemistry or a major in natural or physical sciences with a minor in chemistry. Candidates must have completed their freshman year, maintained a “B” average or better, and have a demonstrated need for financial aid.

About the Sciences at Dominican

Dominican’s science program dates back to the 1920s, when then-Dominican College converted a carriage house into a physics laboratory and classroom under the personal direction of Professor Ralph Minor, who served as both dean of the School of Optometry at UC Berkeley and professor of physics at Dominican.

Over the years, the science program has grown along with the University and has been bolstered in recent years by private gifts and more than $7 million in government and foundation grants, including funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Park Service, NASA, the U.S. Forest Service, the United States Department of Agriculture, the W.M. Keck Foundation, the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation, the Fletcher Jones Foundation,  the Wells Fargo Foundation, and  the Koret Foundation.

In 2002, Dominican instituted a research-intensive science curriculum in which 100 percent of the science students are engaged in research beginning their freshman year. In 2003, the University doubled the size of the science program by hiring four tenure-track scientists to teach in the classrooms, conduct research at the University, and involve undergraduate students in this research.

In 2007, Dominican opened its $21 million Science Center housing biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics under one department, the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The opening of the Science Center transformed scientific research at the University with the addition of specialty laboratories in which faculty could expand their own work and further involve students with increasingly sophisticated projects, including research focused on breast cancer, sudden oak death, biofuels, alcohol addiction, and the impact of global warming on coral reefs.

In 2008, Dominican partnered with the Buck Institute for Age Research to launch a research-based Master of Science in Biological Sciences. In 2009, Dominican expanded the MS program in association with BioMarin Pharmaceutical to add an emphasis on therapeutic science and drug development.

In 2009, Dominican partnered with Kaiser Permanente to launch a mentorship program in which Dominican pre-med students are paired with Kaiser mentors for one year.  In 2010, the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics received a grant from the Marin Community Foundation to launch a program that would address Marin’s achievement gap and promote college access by meeting the academic, college and vocational preparation needs of the county’s educationally and economically disadvantaged middle school and high school students.

The science student body has grown from 28 undergraduate students in 2000 to 200 undergraduate and graduate students in 2011. About 60 percent of the undergraduate students are from an ethnic minority, and about one one-quarter of the students are the first in their families to attend college. These students are supported by significant financial aid and a diverse science faculty.

The University’s commitment to active learning through enhanced research activities resulted in a highly competitive and skilled student body prepared to continue their studies in graduate, health professional school or industry. Since 2005, about 70 percent of Dominican’s graduating biology majors have entered graduate (M.S. or Ph.D.) or professional schools. Furthermore, students have conducted faculty directed research resulting in more than 120 conference presentations.