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Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers

CUHK appoints seven honorary fellows

On 20 May, seven distinguished people were appointed honorary fellows in recognition of their contributions to CUHK and the community at large. Professor John Y.C. Chai, Chairman of the University Council, presided over the presentation ceremony at the Lee Hysan Concert Hall.

The honorary fellows come from different walks of life, and in their decades of hard work have distinguished themselves in society more broadly, as well as contributing significantly to the University’s development. Among those honoured was Dr Barbara Kwok Pik-lin, an alumna of Chung Chi College who also served on the University Council, and whose work in the financial sector has been complemented by her support for the development of her alma mater. She was joined by Simon Lee Kwok-chung, a lawyer whose presidency of the United College Alumni Association has seen him establish many scholarships, mentorships and internships that have enabled students’ personal growth.

Dr Harry Lee Nai-shee, a champion of innovation in Hong Kong’s textile and garment industry, was honoured for his continuing efforts in strengthening education and the development of skills in the young, especially in his role as chairperson of the Committee of Overseers of Lee Woo Sing College. There was also Roger Luk Koon-hoo, an alumnus of CUHK who has served as Treasurer of the University’s Council; his experience in the banking sector has complemented his multiple posts on various boards and committees in the University.

Besides those passionate philanthropists who have enabled the University to flourish, there were also long-serving academics who have toiled hard on the slopes of CUHK and have given their all to the world of education. Professor Leung Yuen-sang, an academic who has also served as Dean of Arts as well as Head of Chung Chi College, was among those honoured; he was recognised for his efforts in promoting the significance of public history and introducing it into the curriculum of the University’s Department of History. There was also Professor Fok Tai-fai, whose enduring bond with the Faculty of Medicine culminated in his decade-long stint as Dean, during which he championed many important development initiatives, and played a crucial role in the establishment of the CUHK Medical Centre. The ceremony also celebrated Professor Michael Hui King-man, who has completed years of study and research in the marketing sector and, even after his retirement from CUHK, still devotes himself regularly to the causes of university education and leadership.

The newly-appointed fellows (robes with red and gold fringe) gather for a group photo after the ceremony. Front row from left: Professor Nick Rawlins, Professor Sham Mai-har, Professor Poon Wai-yin, Professor Leung Yuen-sang, Simon Lee, Professor Michael Hui, Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Chan, Council Chairman Professor John Chai, Professor Fok Tai-fai, Dr Barbara Kwok, Dr Harry Lee, Roger Luk, Professor Chan Wai-yee and Professor Anthony Chan.

‘The strongest feeling is gratitude’

Accepting the fellowships on behalf of all the fellows, Professor Leung talked of his experiences studying at CUHK as an undergraduate, and how, after his return from overseas graduate studies, he watched the University transform and grow during his subsequent 30-year teaching career. He spoke about the strange feelings of reversal that accompanied his receipt of this honour: “In the past, I used to stand on this podium as the orator, delivering citations at many a conferment ceremony, honouring distinguished individuals. Today, I am the one who stands on ceremonial ground, being honoured by a citation specifically written for me. In the past, I blew the trumpet for the honorands; today, I find a citation in my own name. This role reversal experience is a bit strange and, to a certain degree, ludicrous.”

Yet this experience, he claimed, was one suffused with indelible memories of events that gave him the wisdom to attain a positive attitude in life. “My feelings today can be encapsulated in one word: gratitude. Today, my heart is filled with mixed emotions and my thoughts are like a spinning wheel, yet the strongest feeling is gratitude, and I want to express my sincere gratitude to a lot of people.” On behalf of his fellow honourees, he went on to thank the principal officers, secretaries and support staff at CUHK, as well as all of his mentors, for their support throughout the years; he also expressed his gratitude towards his family and his wife in particular for their enduring care and understanding.

After the ceremony, the honorary fellows went to the Hyatt Regency hotel for a celebratory dinner, where Professor Chai gave a speech in honour of the new fellows. In recapping their accomplishments, he said: “Each of them has made seminal contributions in their own professional field, and they are recognised for their time-honoured commitment and service to the University.” He invited all those present to raise a glass to these seven fellows and wish them every success in their future endeavours.

by Chamois Chui

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