SF State’s College of Business named in honor of Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen and wife Lyna Lam’s family

Four people at formal event at a donation celebration.

Left to right: San Francisco State University President Leslie E. Wong, Lyna Lam, Quang Lam and Chris Larsen.

SAN FRANCISCO — June 4, 2019 — The California State University has approved the naming of the College of Business at San Francisco State University as the Lam Family College of Business. The naming is in recognition of Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen and his wife Lyna Lam, making it the first named college in the University’s history. This milestone honors Larsen, a San Francisco State alumnus, for his long history of generous support of his alma mater.

The first in his family to attend college, Larsen graduated from SF State in 1984 with three bachelor's degrees in accounting, finance and international business. He credits his SF State education as a key contributor to his success in the financial technology sector. Lam’s two siblings and other family members also attended the University.

At Larsen’s recommendation, the college is named in honor of his wife’s family, particularly his father-in-law, Quang Lam, who led his family in their escape from war and genocide in Cambodia. After a few years in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines, the Lam family immigrated to the U.S. and settled in the Bay Area. Larsen looks up to Quang Lam as someone who worked hard to give his family the American dream. Larsen sees his father-in-law’s ingenuity, grit and determination as great examples of the attributes possessed by SF State students, thirty-seven percent of whom are the first in their families to attend college.

In April 2019, the University announced a gift of $25 million to the College of Business by Larsen, Lam and Rippleworks, a nonprofit foundation launched in 2015 by Larsen and Doug Galen that supports high-growth social ventures around the world. The gift established the Chris Larsen and Lyna Lam Funds for the College of Business and supports the University’s BOLD Thinking campaign, which aims to raise $150 million to secure SF State’s position as a world-class university. The gift is one of the largest in SF State’s history and was predominantly made in digital assets.

“This generous gift will build the University’s focus on innovation-oriented learning and professional development,” said University President Leslie E. Wong. “Through funding of programs in global innovation, entrepreneurship and financial technology, this gift will transform the College of Business and the University through highly networked programs and the encouragement of interdisciplinary pursuits.”

With the help of these funds, the University will bring the campus community together by creating initiatives that allow students from all colleges to participate and collaborate on entrepreneurial projects. “Students across all disciplines will have an opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary programs, projects, research, conferences, workshops and services created through these new initiatives,” said Yim-Yu Wong, interim dean of the College of Business. “The Lam Family College of Business aims to prepare all SF State students to become innovative problem-solvers, entrepreneurial leaders and changemakers across industries and borders.”

The funds will also help the Lam Family College of Business fulfill its mission of serving a richly diverse learning community through innovation-oriented teaching and professional development. “Being here in San Francisco at the center of the fintech, tech and biotech industries gives SF State’s students amazing career opportunities,” said Larsen. “These funds are focused on guiding these students in becoming innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders in these fields, enabling them to become changemakers in business and their communities.”

The name was approved by the California State University Board of Trustees on May 21.


About San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University is a doctoral public university serving students from the San Francisco Bay Area, across California and around the world, with nationally acclaimed programs that span a broad range of disciplines. Nearly 30,000 students enroll at the University each year, and its more than 321,000 graduates have contributed to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond. Through them — and more than 1,800 world-class faculty members — SF State proudly embraces its legacy of academic excellence, community engagement and commitment to social justice. For more information, visit sfsu.edu.