Crystal Windows Chairman Donates$1.1 Million for Queens College School of the Arts

Queens College President Frank Wu (left) and Queens Borough President Representative Tiffany Eason present proclamation to Crystal Chairman Thomas Chen recognizing The Chen Family gift to Queens College (photo by Crystal Windows)

-Entrepreneur Thomas Chen and Family Establish Sustaining Endowment-

QUEENS, NY, November 11, 2021 –Thomas Chen, Chairman and Founder of national manufacturer Crystal Window & Door Systems, and The ChenFamily are pleased to announce they have established a $1,105,000 endowment for Queens College in New York City.  The substantial endowment will support programs at the College’s new School of the Arts.  The endowment was announced by Thomas and his son Crystal President Steve Chen at a press conference held at Queens College on Wednesday, November 10th. The Thomas Chen Family/Crystal Windows Endowment will promote contemporary visual Asian art at Queens College through exhibitions, student scholarships, and a visiting artist program.

Three generations of The Chen Family present their $1.105 million endowment to Queens College (photo courtesy of Dominick Totino Photography and Queens College).

“I am proud to make this contribution on behalf of the Chen Family and Crystal Windows to Queens College,” said Thomas Chen.  “As someone who never had the opportunity to attend college, I believe supporting a prestigious local institution like Queens College with its long history of benefitting immigrants and first-generation Americans makes perfect sense.  This is the first major gift to the new School of the Arts, a subject near and dear to my heart.  This makes the endowment very special to me and a wonderful legacy for my family.”

Regarding the substantial gift to Queens College, President Frank Wu said, “Queens College is profoundly grateful for the generous support of Thomas Chen and The Chen Family, whose endowment will enable the college to offer exciting new programs and scholarships,” said President Wu. “At the same time, Thomas Chen’s remarkable life and outstanding career will inspire our students, showing them that with vision and hard work, the American dream is attainable.”

US Congresswoman Grace Meng and New York State Senators Toby Stavisky and John Liu were among speakers to address the audience, and they noted Crystal Windows’ growth and success, its support of Queens philanthropic and cultural institutions, and its commitment to New York.  Lee Fenerstock, President of the Queens College Foundation, and Simmi So, a current Queens College art student, spoke of what the endowment would mean to the College’s art programs.  The Chens also received a proclamation from Queens Borough President Donovan Richards recognizing their magnanimous action.

On behalf of The Chen Family, Thomas and Steve Chen presented the endowment to Queens College President Wu.  “Even though our operations are now national, Queens remains the home of Crystal Windows.  My family has always believed in sharing our good fortune to better the community,” said Steve Chen.  “We have a longstanding interest in art, and we have focused much of our philanthropy on supporting the arts.  Appreciation of art transcends the languages and borders that separate us.  Art is a force that unites people and the world, so The Chen Family is happy this endowment will support the arts and art education in Queens for many generations to come.”

Crystal Chairman Thomas Chen (left), President Steve Chen and Steve’s son pose with the endowment check presented to Queens College on November 10, 2021.

Entrepreneur Thomas Chen is a true American success story.  Speaking no English and with little money, he immigrated from rural Taiwan to the US in 1982 and worked several menial jobs.  Then in 1990 he launched his own very modest manufacturing company, Crystal Window & Door Systems in Queens.  The company grew steadily, expanded numerous times, and prospered.  Today as Chairman, Thomas continues to provide vision and strategic guidance to the Crystal family of companies, which his son Steve now leads.  His business acumen and accomplishments have been spotlighted over the years by national business publications, television news shows, and industry media and organizations.  Thomas remains a strong and prominent role model to many in the American immigrant and New York business communities.

Much of The Chen Family’s philanthropic activity is focused on the arts.  Thomas Chen is a founding member of the Taiwanese American Arts Council, which collaborates with the Queens Museum to support Asian artists throughout the city.  Over the years, The Chen Family has provided support to Queensborough Community College, Queens Theatre in the Park, the NYC Winter Lantern Festival, Flushing Town Hall, the Flushing Taiwan Center, and Queens College.

Queens College is a top-tier 4-year and graduate university within The City University of New York (CUNY) system.  Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs.  The college has more than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students and is located on a beautiful, 80-acre campus in Flushing, Queens.  It has been cited by Princeton Review as one of America’s Best Value Colleges for four consecutive years, as well as being ranked a U.S. News and World Report Best College and Forbes Magazine Best Value College due to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs.