HKUST Holds 22nd Congregation Conferring Honorary Doctorates on Five Distinguished Academics and Community Leaders
07-11-2014

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) held its 22nd Congregation today (7 November) and conferred honorary doctorates on five eminent academics and community leaders. Acting Chairman of the University Council Mr Martin Y Tang, presided over today’s ceremony. Sir Michael Moritz, Chairman of Sequoia Capital, delivered 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):

  • Prof Chih-Ming HO, Ben Rich-Lockheed Martin Chair Professor at UCLA – Doctor of Engineering honoris causa
  • Dr Michael Hoi Hung MAK, SBS, JP, former HKUST Council Vice-Chairman – Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa
  • Sir Michael MORITZ, KBE, Chairman of Sequoia Capital – Doctor of Letters honoris causa
  • Prof Mu Ming POO, Paul Licht Distinguished Professor in Biology at the University of California, Berkeley – Doctor of Science honoris causa
  • Prof Yu XIE, Otis Dudley Duncan Distinguished University Professor of Sociology, Statistics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan – Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa

Addressing the ceremony, President Prof Tony F Chan congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to be optimistic, think critically with unique point of view and base one’s opinions and decisions on facts. He urged graduates not to lose heart; history has shown that human ingenuity always comes up with solutions to problems that were once thought unsolvable.

In his commencement speech, Sir Michael Moritz said, “The Chinese share of the global market capitalization created by new technology companies and by the embryonic work that takes place at universities like HKUST is only going in one direction, and that is up.” He added, ”The China I know is full of daring entrepreneurial adventurers who imagine things that others had not contemplated and who compete with an intensity and vigor and fervor that is more than a match for the West.”

Prof Chih-Ming HO is Ben Rich-Lockheed Martin Chair Professor at UCLA and Visiting Professor at the HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study. He is a global front-runner in fluid mechanics, and has also pioneered advances in microfluidics and biomolecular sensors, among other areas. Following his bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering at National Taiwan University, Prof Ho moved to Johns Hopkins University in the United States, where he earned a PhD in 1974. He became Founding Director of the Center for Microsystems at UCLA in 1992. He was inducted as a member of the US National Academy of Engineering in 1997 and was elected an Academician of Academia Sinica in 1998. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and American Physical Society. Prof Ho holds 10 honorary professorships including the Einstein Professor of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Dr Michael Hoi Hung MAK, SBS, JP is a highly esteemed paediatrician. He was Vice-Chairman of the Council at HKUST and became a Court member in 2013. He also sits on the University Grants Committee of HKSAR. In recognition of his academic endeavors, Dr Mak was elected a Fellow of the Hong Kong College of Paediatricians in 1991 and a Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine in 1993. Seeking to advance the medical profession, he served as a Council Member of the Hong Kong Medical Association and Vice-President of the Federation of Medical Societies of Hong Kong. He was the Supervisor of St Paul’s Co-educational College from 1999 to 2010 and was appointed the Council Vice-Chairman of the College in 2012. Dr Mak was made a Justice of the Peace in 2005 and was awarded a Silver Bauhinia Star by the HKSAR government in 2013.

Sir Michael Moritz is Chairman of Sequoia Capital, one of the most influential venture-capital firms. The Sequoia-funded companies represent more than 20% of the NASDAQ stock exchange. The firm’s investments have ranged from Google, YouTube, Yahoo! to WhatsApp and DropBox. Sir Michael and his wife, novelist Harriet Heyman, are committed philanthropists and were named the 13th most generous philanthropists in the United States by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. They have signed The Giving Pledge, set up by global business-philanthropists Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to donate at least half of their wealth. They have also created the largest scholarship schemes for university students in Europe and the US. Sir Michael holds a degree in history from Oxford University. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2013. He received an Honorary Doctorate from Juilliard School in New York and Honorary Fellowships from Cardiff University and Aberystwyth University.

Prof Mu Ming POO is a distinguished neurobiologist. He has long been engaged in exploring problems of brain development, learning and memory for decades.  Based at the University of California, Berkeley, he defined a breakthrough research method that could systematically chart how neuronal connections are formed while also being able to manipulate chemical and environmental factors to observe how these connections then change. Prof Poo is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, Academia Sinica, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  His numerous awards include the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award of the National Institutes of Health and the Ameritec Prize, among others. He leads the Institute of Neuroscience of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai. When HKUST was first being established, he sat on the Preparatory Committee, and he has assisted enormously in setting up the State Key Lab in Molecular Neuroscience and shaping the direction of the life science program of the University.

Prof Yu XIE is a pioneering sociologist at the University of Michigan. He developed his multidisciplinary outlook to advance social research methods, exploring the differences between social science and natural science. He has distilled the type of “population thinking” into three basic principles of social science research: variability, social groupings, and social context. His log-multiplicative layer effect model has proved particularly valuable for comparative tabular analysis. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Academia Sinica and the US National Academy of Sciences. Working closely with Peking University as the Principal Investigator of the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), he has been deeply involved in building the infrastructure for social science research, designing and overseeing a ground-breaking national study. Prof Xie is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Division of Social Science at HKUST.

The Congregation also saw two awards presented to faculty and students.

Prof Chun Man CHAN, Professor of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was awarded the Michael G Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching, HKUST’s highest accolade in teaching. Joined the University in 1993, his commitment and passion for teaching have been recognized by being a four-time recipient of the School of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award. He was the Program Director of the Master in Civil Infrastructural Engineering and Management, a member of the School’s 334 Curriculum Committee, and a member of the University Senate. He has also strengthened industry-university collaboration through his engagement with government advisory committees and contribution to his department’s Internship Training Program.

The Stephen Cheong Kam-chuen Medal for Distinguished Service to the Student Body was awarded to Sam Ngai Chun SHEK, a third year student in Mechanical Engineering. Mr Shek served as the President of the Students’ Union for the academic year 2013-2014. He showed his global vision, social awareness and strong commitment to serving others in coordinating a number of events including fund raising activities for victims of Wenchuan earthquake in the Mainland and activities relating to local labor disputes.

The 22nd Congregation conferred 2,129 bachelor’s degrees, 1,891 master’s degrees, and 215 doctoral degrees, expanding the HKUST alumni community to over 54,000.

Address by President Prof Tony F Chan: http://congregation.ust.hk/ceremonies-and-events/addresses.html

Citation of Five Honorary Doctorates recipients:http://congregation.ust.hk/ceremonies-and-events/addresses.html

One-on-one Interview with Sir Michael Moritz: http://youtu.be/dWBgqAOXbBc

HKUST Acting Council Chairman Mr Martin Y Tang officiates the Congregation.

HKUST Acting Council Chairman Mr Martin Y Tang officiates the Congregation.

President Tony F Chan congratulates the graduates.

President Tony F Chan congratulates the graduates.

Sir Michael Moritz, Chairman of Sequoia Capital, delivers commencement speech.

Sir Michael Moritz, Chairman of Sequoia Capital, delivers commencement speech.

The five honorary doctorate recipients: (from left) Prof Yu XIE, Prof Mu Ming POO, Sir Michael MORITZ, Dr Michael Hoi Hung MAK and Prof Chih-Ming HO.

The five honorary doctorate recipients: (from left) Prof Yu XIE, Prof Mu Ming POO, Sir Michael MORITZ, Dr Michael Hoi Hung MAK and Prof Chih-Ming HO.

For media enquiries, please feel free to contact:
Sherry No
Tel: 2358 6317
Email: sherryno@ust.hk
Martin Wong
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Email: martinwong@ust.hk