The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) held its 23rd Congregation today (20 November) and conferred honorary doctorates on five eminent academics and community leaders. The Honourable Andrew Liao Cheung-sing, Chairman of the University Council, presided over today’s ceremony.
HKUST honorary doctorates are awarded to five outstanding individuals in recognition of their distinguished achievements and contributions. This year’s recipients were (in alphabetical order):
Addressing the ceremony, President Prof Tony F Chan congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to keep five sets of core values of HKUST to be their guiding principles, so that they will be distinctive at work, as a leader, and as a thoughtful and responsible global citizen. The core values are “Excellence, Integrity, and Academic Freedom”, “Global Vision and Local Commitment”, “Can-do Spirit”, “Inclusiveness, Diversity, and Respect” and “1-HKUST spirit”.
Dr Raghuram G Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, delivered a commencement speech following the conferment of the Honorary Degrees. In light of the rising opinion that inequality is growing among countries in the world, Dr Rajan spoke emphatically on the need to restore the public’s confidence on the market, instead of falling for easy solutions that popularist ideas present. “We must increase access to the market for all, and we must promote equal opportunity in the job market, regardless of their gender, race, and background. Only by then will the society raise its tolerance for a free market.”
As a note of career advice to upcoming graduates, Dr Rajan contended that it is important for one to not be obsessed with the outcome, but to thoroughly enjoy work as a process as well. “People think when you are successful, you ought to be happy,” Dr Rajan said. “The truth is, based on my personal experience, it is more important to do what you like to do and find success with it. That way, even if the end point is not what you envisioned, you will still have a joyful time.”
Before the congregation, Dr Rajan also gave a talk at HKUST’s 25th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers Series. Dr Rajan spoke on the role of debt, and why it should be used carefully. “Debt is like dynamite. It can be very useful depending on the situation, but we must handle it with caution and care.”
“With proper use of debt, we have a better way of freeing up resources to bring our society forward. But every society, and government, should always remind themselves that the debt level ought not to get too high, and resist the temptation to over borrow,” Dr Rajan said. “We need moderation and extreme care on all levels.”
Mr Hans Michael JEBSEN, BBS is Chairman of the Jebsen Group, a focused marketing and distribution organization established in Greater China. Mr Jebsen set up the Jebsen Educational Foundation in 1995 and has since supported a scholarship program at HKUST for 20 years. He is currently a Court member of HKUST and a member of the Advisory Council of the School of Business and Management. Dedicated to public service, Mr Jebsen is a member of the Hong Kong European Union Business Co-operation Committee of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Trustee of the World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong, and Chairman of Asian Cultural Council Hong Kong. He received the Bronze Bauhinia Star from the Hong Kong SAR Government and made a Knight of 1st Class of the Order of Dannebrog. He was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany in 2008 and the title of Hofjægermester from the Queen of Denmark in 2011. Mr Jebsen is also an Honorary Citizen and Municipal Economic Advisor and Committee Member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee of Jilin City.
Prof Sir John PENDRY, FRS is Chair Professor in Theoretical Solid State Physics at Imperial College. Sir John is a condensed matter theorist known for his research into the creations of “perfect” lens and the first practical invisibility cloak. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Master’s and PhD in Solid State Theory at Cambridge in the late 1960s. Following research positions at Cambridge, Bell Labs in the US, and Daresbury Laboratory in the UK, he joined Imperial College in London in 1981. His numerous accolades include fellowship of the Royal Society since 1984, a knighthood in 2004, the Isaac Newton Medal and Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics in 2013, Kavli Prize in Nanoscience co-recipient in 2014 and the 2015 Prize for Fundamental Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics from the European Physical Society. He is also a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences. He is a Visiting Professor of HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study.
Dr Raghuram G RAJAN was appointed the 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India in 2013. Before this, he was a Professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He was also Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund. His work specializes in financial economics, ranging from the central role of banks in creating liquidity, and the role of finance in economic growth to the nature of corporations and their financing. Dr Rajan is a member of the Group of Thirty and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was awarded the inaugural Fischer Black Prize under the age of 40 by the American Finance Association and was the President of the Association in 2011. He was named Governor of the Year by the Central Banking Awards in 2015 and was recently elected the Vice-Chairman of the Bank for International Settlements. Dr Rajan is also the author of Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists, which was co-written with Luigi Zingales, and the award-winning Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy.
Mr James E THOMPSON, GBS is the Founder and Chairman of the Crown Worldwide Group, the world’s largest privately owned international relocation business. He has served on numerous Hong Kong Trade Development Council trade missions, the Hong Kong-Japan Business Cooperation Committee, and was the Deputy Chairman of the Hong Kong Management Association, and a two-term Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. He is also committed in many charities focusing on cancer, education, art and children. He was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong SAR Government in 2003. In 2014, he clinched the DHL/SCMP Hong Kong Business Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a Court member of HKUST and a member of the Business School Advisory Council. He has also supported the establishment of the Thompson Center for Business Case Studies.
Prof Lap-Chee TSUI, GBS, JP is a world-renowned molecular biologist. He made pioneering breakthrough to the study of human genome when he was based in the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada and the University of Toronto. He discovered the first DNA marker linked to inherited disease cystic fibrosis in 1985, and the defective gene on Chromosome 7 causing cystic fibrosis in 1989. His catalytic scientific contribution pushed forward the United States to launch the Human Genome Project to speed up similar findings. He also made notable contributions to mapping and identification of other diseases on Chromosome 7. From 2000 to 2002, he served as President of the Human Genome Organization. He also provided his expertise to the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong for many years. In 2002, he was appointed as the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Hong Kong and served until 2014. He has received over 70 prestigious awards and a host of professional honors, including a Gold Bauhinia Star from the Hong Kong SAR Government in 2011, induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2012, and Fellowships of the Royal Society of Canada, Royal Society of London and Academia Sinica. He is currently a Director of Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation and the President of Victor and William Fung Foundation.
The distinguished teaching award and the distinguished service award to the student body were also presented at the Congregation.
Prof Kam Tim WOO, Associate Professor of Engineering Education in the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, was awarded the Michael G Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching, HKUST’s highest accolade in teaching. Prof Woo has established a successful program for experiential learning through robotics competitions, nurturing a unique HKUST Robotics Team composed of students of diverse backgrounds. He was honored with the 2015 UGC Teaching Award by the University Grants Committee and the Teaching Excellence Appreciation Award by HKUST’s School of Engineering. He is also the Founding Director of the Center for Global and Community Engagement of the School of Engineering.
The Stephen Cheong Kam-chuen Medal for Distinguished Service to the Student Body was awarded to BBA graduate Man Kit TSANG. Mr Tsang served as Vice-President (Internal) of the Students’ Union for the academic year 2013-2014. He demonstrated outstanding leadership in coordinating and balancing the needs of student societies in major events and played an important role in fostering the relationship and co-operative spirit among the Students’ Union and its affiliated societies.
The 23rd Congregation conferred 2,224 bachelor’s degrees, 2,017 master’s degrees, and 241 doctoral degrees, expanding the HKUST alumni community to over 58,000.
Address by President Prof Tony F Chan:
Citation of Five Honorary Doctorates recipients:
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HKUST Holds 23rd Congregation Conferring Honorary Doctorates on Five Distinguished Academics and Community Leaders