The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) held its 19th Congregation today (18 November) and conferred honorary doctorates on four eminent academics and community leaders. Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR Government and HKUST's Chancellor, the Hon Donald Tsang presided over today's ceremony.
HKUST's honorary doctorates are awarded to four outstanding individuals in recognition of their distinguished achievements and contributions. This year's recipients are:
Dr Simon Ip Sik On, CBE, JP, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Stewards of the Hong Kong Jockey Club - Doctor of Laws honoris causa
The Hon Elsie Leung Oi Sie, GBM, JP, the former Secretary for Justice of the Hong Kong SAR Government - Doctor of Laws honoris causa
Prof Tobin J Marks, Vladimir N Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University - Doctor of Science honoris causa
Prof Eli Yablonovitch, James & Katherine Lau Chair in Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley, and Director of the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science - Doctor of Engineering honoris causa
This year being the 20th anniversary of HKUST, President Prof Tony F Chan congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to live with passion and creativity. "Universities are for the future, and university education is a preparation for the future, never a narrow job-specific training. As a university of science and technology, we live for tomorrow, a better tomorrow," Prof Chan said.
Dr Simon Ip Sik On, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Stewards of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, was the former President of the Law Society of Hong Kong and the former Chairman and Senior Partner of Messrs Johnson, Stokes and Master. He served on the Basic Law Consultative Committee, represented the Legal Functional Constituency as a Legislative Councillor from 1991 to 1995 and chaired the Bills Committee. Committed to promoting educational causes, he was a founding Council Member of HKUST and the founding Council Chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Education. He is currently President of the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation and enabled the brilliant staging of the equestrian events of the 2008 Olympics.
The Hon Elsie Leung Oi Sie, the first Secretary for Justice of the Hong Kong SAR from 1997 to 2005, is active in promoting the development of the legal profession. She was also an ex-officio member of the Executive Council, Chairman of the Law Reform Commission, the Committee on a Bilingual Legal System and the Legal Practitioners' Liaison Committee. She promoted the co-operation between Hong Kong lawyers and their Mainland counterparts. During her term of office as a Council Member of the Association of China-Appointed Attesting Officers, she helped set up practices and precedents, and an appointment system built on merits and examination. In 2006, she was appointed the Deputy Director of the Basic Law Committee of the Hong Kong SAR. After retiring, she has maintained her passion for public and community service, with an exceptionally keen interest in women's and children's causes. She was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal in 2002 for her distinguished public service.
Prof Tobin J Marks, Vladimir N Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University and nicknamed 'Molecule Master', designed 'smart' molecules to make better catalysts for new kinds of plastics and enabled the production of recyclable and environmentally-friendly plastics. He aims to design completely new structures that self-assemble and generate the desired functions such as rich color and viewing angle. He also made outstanding contributions to the research on energy-efficient OLEDs. With 95 named lectureships and awards, 205 US patents and 1,025 published articles, Prof Marks' h-index (which measures the productivity and impact of a scientist) stands high at 115.
Prof Eli Yablonovitch, James & Katherine Lau Chair in Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley and Director of the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science, was one of the two applied physicists who invented the field of photonic crystals early in 1987. He is a rare scientist who has an invention, 'Yablonovite', named after him. He developed a technique that is now applied to the majority of semiconductor lasers fabricated throughout the world. He undertook painstaking research on 'Photonic Crystal' and was regarded as one of the Fathers of the Photonic BandGap concept. He co-founded Luxtera Inc which was selected as one of the World's 50 Most Innovative Companies by MIT Technology Review.
The Congregation also saw other awards presented to faculty members, administrative and non-teaching staff as well as students.
Prof Amine Bermak, Professor of the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, was awarded HKUST's highest accolade in teaching - the Michael G Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching for his passion for educating and inspiring students. Prof Bermak has been a two-time recipient of the School of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award, the founder and leader of the Smart Sensory Integrated System Research Lab.
This year, HKUST also presented the President's Outstanding Service Award to three dedicated administrative and non-academic staff members. The three awardees are Mr Cheung Tze Kin, Senior Technical Officer of the Materials Characterization and Preparation Facility; Mr Michael Choi, Security Manager of the Facilities Management Office; and Ms Julie Shing, Executive Assistant to the Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies.
The Stephen Cheong Kam-chuen Medal for Distinguished Service to the Student Body was awarded to Mr Hung Hin San, a third year student in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management. Mr Hung served in the Students' Union for the academic year 2010-2011 in the capacity of Vice-President (Internal). He showed utmost dedication in uniting the student bodies and has been an active participant in community service.
Holding the first carbon-neutral University Congregation in Asia last year, HKUST sustains its commitment to going green by adopting a series of environmental measures on carbon reduction in this year's Congregation. The measures include providing additional recycling bins, supplying biodegradable cutleries, composting used cups and plates, making use of recycled paper for printing the congregation program as well as encouraging public transport use. The total carbon dioxide emissions for this year's Congregation have been substantially reduced by over 10% compared to last year's figure.
The 19th Congregation conferred 1,972 bachelor's degrees, 1,527 master's degrees, and 183 doctoral degrees, expanding the HKUST alumni community to over 42,500.
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