By Barry Moskowitz
Queens, NY -- More than twenty years after receiving an honorary
degree from St. John’s University, a prominent construction
executive and benefactor returned to campus for a ceremony naming
the University’s Art Gallery in his honor.
Surrounded by student paintings from the University’s Fine
Arts Department, Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. President of
St. John’s, formally dedicated the Dr. M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Art
Gallery in Sun Yat Sen Hall on Wednesday, August 3, 2005.
The roomful of faculty, administrators and students applauded as
Dr. Yeh and his son, V-Nee Yeh, shook hands with Rev. Harrington,
who thanked Dr. Yeh for his generous, long-time support of the
“This is Dr. Yeh’s first time back at the Queens campus since
the early 1980s,” said Rev. Harrington. “Yet I often visit with
him, his wife and family when I have an opportunity to visit Asia.
In his work and in his efforts to strengthen relations between the
U.S. and China, Dr. Yeh exemplifies the values this University
holds dear, and we are grateful for his continued generous
That support, Rev. Harrington noted, will enable the Dr. M.T.
Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery to continue its growth as a significant
cultural center in the metropolitan area. “We want this gallery to
be a very big small gallery, rivaling the smaller galleries one
finds in the city,” said Rev. Harrington. “Dr. Yeh’s contributions
will enable us to host the caliber of exhibits we aspire to.”
According to Prof. Paul Fabozzi, chairman of the Fine Arts
Department, Dr. Yeh’s contributions also strengthen the gallery’s
role in promoting work by St. John’s art students. “The creation
process is aided by the ability to see work by one’s fellow
artists,” noted Prof. Fabozzi. “This gallery serves as a vital
forum for showcasing the efforts of our students, which is a huge
part of an artist’s career.”
Located on the first floor of the distinctive Sun Yat Sen Hall,
the gallery has grown over the years from a strictly campus gallery
to a nationally recognized institution. In addition to showing
student work, past exhibitions have included “Images from the
Atomic Front” (2003), “Contemporary Art from Cuba – The New
Generation (2004), and “Marshall Arisman’s – Power Animals (2004),
works by the nationally acclaimed illustrator.
Originally drawn to St. John’s by an interest in its Vincentian
mission, Dr. Yeh is one of Hong Kong’s most innovative construction
leaders. Born in Shanghai in 1931, Dr. Yeh earned his bachelor’s
degree with honors at the University of Illinois and a master’s
degree from Harvard University.
Currently, Dr. Yeh is Chairman of Hsin Chong International
Holdings Ltd. and Director of Hsin Chong Land Co. Ltd., which began
as a company founded by his late father, Mr. K.N. Godfrey Yeh. He
also holds directorships in such companies as Hysan Development Co.
Ltd. and China Travel International Investment HK Ltd.
Dr. Yeh is known for having pioneered the introduction of the
hand-dug caisson foundation, slip-form construction for high-rise
buildings and semi-mechanized construction of public housing in
Hong Kong. Many other construction companies throughout the region
have adopted Dr. Yeh’s cost- and time-saving innovations.