No single gift—or individual donor—embodies the Campaign theme of "transformation" more than Joe Tsai.
Today Joe is executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce giant he co-founded, and owns the Brooklyn Nets (NBA), the Barclays Center, the San Diego Seals lacrosse team, and the New York Liberty (WNBA). But he came to Lawrenceville as a 13-year-old from Taiwan who spoke little English and worked hard to find his place. The next five years would be filled with defining moments, fueling his passion for athletics and teaching him the importance of humility and perseverance in achieving success.
Joe’s academic prowess took him to Yale undergrad, Yale Law School, and turns in corporate law and private equity, but it was athletics that gave him a sense of place. He says of his early days at Lawrenceville, "I figured if I wanted to be more a part of the community, I would need to participate in sports." He found his place on the field and the court, playing varsity football and lacrosse for Big Red and House basketball for Cleve.
The Tsai Field House, which will incorporate the Tsai Commons for dining, will provide a unique venue for Lawrentians to gather as teammates, fans, and dining companions, extending the camaraderie of House life and Harkness learning. The combination of team sports, recreation, and dining is deliberate. A gift from Joe and his wife, Clara, through the Joe & Clara Tsai Foundation, Tsai Field House will be the only facility of its kind at an independent school.
"Lawrenceville is about the inspiration you draw from the sense of community here," says Joe. "When cultivated, it’s a gravitational pull that yields a life-changing experience."