The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) held its 21st Congregation today (8 November) and conferred honorary doctorates on six eminent academics and community leaders. Chairman of the University Council Dr Marvin K T Cheung, GBS, JP, presided over today’s ceremony. Dr Jack Ma Yun, Chairman of Alibaba Group, delivered HKUST’s first commencement speech following the conferment of the Honorary Degrees.
HKUST honorary doctorates are awarded to 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 be contributing, compassionate global citizens with high integrity. With their HKUST education, they should be able to face the challenges ahead in these unsettling times. He encouraged graduates to use their critical thinking and analytical skills to think through issues; to be respectful of dissenting views; to look at issues objectively and rationally with the goal of advancing toward mutual solutions; not to pressure people into standing on their side; and to take responsibility for their actions and decisions. Graduates should take their place in the world as leaders and shapers of tomorrow, and strive to make a positive difference.
In his commencement speech, Dr Jack Ma Yun reminded HKUST graduates that many people had told him in the past that he would not be successful. But if you looked to the future, worked hard and believed in yourself, you had a chance, he said.
“A lot of people would like to rely on yesterday’s success. I like to live in tomorrow’s dreams.”
Dr Ma also gave HKUST graduates three pieces of advice: to be persistent in being themselves and following their dreams; to always be optimistic that tomorrow will be better; and to embrace change, one of the core values of the Alibaba Group.
In talking about the success of the Alibaba Group, he said: “The best way to avoid failure is to change when you are at your peak. Fix the roof when the sun is shining. Don’t fix the roof when it is raining.”
Dr Chow Yei Ching is Founder and Chairman of the Chevalier Group, established in 1970 and now an international conglomerate with over 370 subsidiaries and associated companies worldwide. He is a committed philanthropist and staunch supporter of universities in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Dr Chow’s long and distinguished public service includes Vice Patron of the Community Chest of Hong Kong, Chairman of Hong Kong Bahrain Business Association, and President of The Japan Society. He has been the Honorary Consul of The Kingdom of Bahrain in Hong Kong since 2001. His endeavors on behalf of local and overseas communities have been recognized by the Gold Bauhinia Star from Hong Kong, Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon from Japan, as well as honors from the UK, France and Belgium. He is currently an Honorary Court Member of HKUST.
Prof Marvin L Cohen is University Professor of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Prof Cohen’s research covers a broad spectrum of subjects in theoretical condensed matter physics and has been particularly influential through creating and applying a quantum theory which formed the basis for semiconductor physics and nanoscience. He is a recipient of the National Medal of Science, the top accolade for scientists in the US, Foresight Institute Richard P Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, and the Technology Pioneer Award from the World Economic Forum. Prof Cohen has contributed more than 800 technical publications. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is also a member of the International Advisory Committee for the HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and an IAS Visiting Professor.
Prof Evelyn L Hu is Tarr-Coyne Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering at Harvard University. She has made pioneering contributions to highly sophisticated nanofabrication technology, including nano-scale optical devices and lasers, and gleaned fresh insights from the organic and biological worlds to form novel electronic and photonic materials. She has been elected to both the US National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences. Prof Hu has previously worked at Bell Labs and the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has actively encouraged and demonstrated the importance of building links between academia and industry to enable discoveries to be applied. At Harvard, she has been instrumental in initiating a new working partnership with HKUST to boost undergraduate engineering connections. She is also a Visiting Professor at the HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study.
Dr Jack Ma Yun is the Lead Founder of Alibaba Group. After the company’s debut in 1999, he served as Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for more than a decade, with responsibility for overall strategy and focus. In May 2013, he stepped down as Chief Executive Officer but remains Executive Chairman and continues to shape the Group’s business strategy and management development. Dr Ma holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Hangzhou Teachers Institute. He currently serves on the board of SoftBank Corp. He is also a director of Huayi Brothers Media Corporation. Dr Ma became a trustee of The Nature Conservancy’s China program in 2009; joined the global board of directors of the organization in 2010; and has served as chair of The Nature Conservancy’s China board of directors since May 2013. In September 2013, he joined the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation as a director.
Prof Bright Zong-Liang Sheng, world-renowned composer, conductor and pianist, is the Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan and Y K Pao Distinguished Visiting Professor of Cultural Studies at HKUST. His accomplishments span stage, orchestral, chamber and vocal works, bringing together east and west through his musical vision. Commissions and performances have involved the world’s greatest orchestras and foremost musicians, including Yo-Yo Ma, Leonard Slatkin, Kurt Masur and the late Leonard Bernstein. Prof Sheng was commissioned by the White House to create a work to honor Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji during a state visit and composed for the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. He has been the recipient of a highly prized MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. He is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the internationally acclaimed The Intimacy of Creativity, an annual event promoting dialogue between young composers and eminent performers held at HKUST.
The Hon Wong Yan Lung served as Secretary for Justice of the HKSAR Government from 2005-2012, subsequently returning to private practice as a barrister. He graduated from Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, in 1986 and the following year was called to the Bar in England and Wales and in Hong Kong. He was appointed a Senior Counsel in Hong Kong in 2002. He has taken on various professional service roles, including being a member of the Council of the Hong Kong Bar Association and Chairman of the Special Committee on Legal Education of the Hong Kong Bar Association. He has been Chairman of the Buildings Appeal Tribunal and the Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation Boards. He has also served as Vice-Chairman of the CEDAR Fund and Member of the Steering Committee and Volunteer of the Hong Kong Christian Concern for the Homeless. In 2012, he received a Grand Bauhinia Medal.
The Congregation also saw other awards presented to faculty and students.
Prof Jimmy C H Fung, Professor of the Department of Mathematics, School of Science, was awarded the Michael G Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching, HKUST’s highest accolade in teaching. Prof Fung received the HKUST School of Science Teaching Award in 1998-99. He has been nominated three times for the Michael G Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching and received special mention for excellence in teaching in 2010. He has also played a key role in the re-development of mathematics education under the four-year degree, the establishment of the MATH Support Center, and the implementation of interdisciplinary programs for both undergraduates and research students.
The Stephen Cheong Kam-chuen Medal for Distinguished Service to the Student Body was awarded to Mr Green Lam Wing Sum, a third year student in Applied Physics. Mr Lam served as President of the Students’ Union for the academic year 2012-2013. He showed utmost dedication in assisting the University with preparations for the landmark double cohort, organizing various orientation activities for freshmen. Externally, Mr Lam strengthened the University’s overseas network. Through his efforts, the University officially joined the Hong Kong Federation of Students.
The 21st Congregation conferred 2,074 bachelor’s degrees, 1,602 master’s degrees, and 189 doctoral degrees, expanding the HKUST alumni community to over 50,000.
President Prof Tony F Chan’s Address:
Citation of Six Honorary Doctorates recipients:
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