The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) held its 25th Congregation today (17 November) and conferred honorary doctorates on four eminent academics and community leaders. The Honorable Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive of the HKSAR government and Chancellor of the University, GBM, GBS, presided over today’s ceremony. HKUST honorary doctorates were awarded to four outstanding individuals in recognition of their distinguished achievements and contributions. This year’s recipients were (in alphabetical order):
Prof Emmanuelle Charpentier, Director of the Department of Infection Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology – Doctor of Science honoris causa
Mr Ian Fok Chun-Wan, Chief Executive Officer of Fok Ying Tung Group – Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa
Prof Dipak Jain, Former Director of Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn University – Doctor of Business Administration honoris causa
Prof Yan Lianke, Sin Wai Kin Visiting Professor of Chinese Culture at HKUST – Doctor of Letters honoris causa
Addressing the ceremony, President Prof Tony F Chan, who is delivering his last congregation speech, congratulated the graduates and exhorted them to chart their own courses. “Government initiatives, such as the Greater Bay Area, the River Loop, and Belt & Road, are going to bring unforeseen opportunities for us. What’s more, our Chief Executive’s first policy address has pledged significant investment in innovation and technology,” Prof Chan said. “Graduates, there has never been a better time for you to chart your own course and deliver on HKUST’s mission - to assist in the economic and social development of Hong Kong by grasping opportunities that come their way. Let’s continue innovating today and imagining tomorrow.”
Following President Chan’s address and conferment of the honorary doctorate degrees, Prof Emmanuelle Charpentier delivered a commencement speech on the importance of mobility and international exchange. She encouraged students to consider mobility as an opportunity to explore new domains and challenge themselves, which is important to their career path.
“Mobility for me has been a process of refinement.” Prof Charpentier said. “It is important but not always easy to find the right balance between staying true to oneself and avoiding complete assimilation, but respecting and integrating into the local environment, and while building on and being receptive to new ideas.” “In these uncertain, ‘post-truth’ times, where the core values of science are threatened, I think it is crucial that all countries keep an open door to international scientists, and that young academics and scientists like yourselves seek out opportunities to broaden your horizons. “ She added.
The Congregation also saw two awards presented to faculty and student. Prof David Paul Rossiter, Associate Professor of Engineering Education in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, was awarded HKUST’s highest accolade in teaching: Michael G Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching. Meanwhile, Professional Accounting and Information Systems Year 4 student Adrian Wu Tsz-Hin was awarded the Stephen Cheong Kam-chuen Medal for Distinguished Service to the Student Body.
The 25th Congregation conferred 2,185 bachelor’s degree, 2,355 master’s degree, and 285 doctoral degrees, expanding the HKUST alumni community to 67,300.
For address by President Prof Tony F Chan and citation of the four Honorary Doctorates recipients:
Prof Emmanuelle Charpentier is one of the key innovators of the recent gene editing revolution. Her findings started in the years 2006-2009 on the CRISPR-Cas9 bacterial immune system - how it protects the bacteria from invading viruses and the role of novel RNA-mediated regulation in this process has changed the world profoundly. Today, labeled “molecular scissors” or “a scalpel for researchers”, laboratories worldwide utilize the methodology pioneered by Prof Charpentier to “cut” and “paste” DNA sequences at precise sites in plants, animals and human cells. She received over 60 awards and honors, as well as a number of honorary doctorates and international accolades. Prof Charpentier is dedicated to advance medicine while maintaining her stance as a vocal proponent of basic research as a key way to progress and innovation. She has spoken up on the need for ethical considerations related to the use of gene editing technology, and is keen to encourage younger researchers to enter the field.
Mr Ian Fok Chun-wan is the visionary leader of Fok Ying Tung Group of companies. His endeavors have resulted in over 70 major buildings at higher education institutions and schools in Hong Kong, overseas, and across Mainland China. The Fok Ying Tung Foundation has also supported a wealth of research and exchange programs throughout the years across in local and mainland universities. HKUST has an on-going relationship with the Foundation, in 2002 the Foundation has launched the Nansha Information Technology Park with HKUST, a year later it has donated HK$30 million in support of the University’s research and academic development. In 2005, the Foundation again pledged HK$800 million to HKUST to drive knowledge transfer at Pearl River Delta with the establishment of HKUST Fok Ying Tung Graduate School and the HKUST Fok Ying Tung Research Institute. Mr Fok was a member of HKUST’s Council (2004-10) and now the Court, and as an advisor to the Knowledge Transfer Advisory Group.
Prof Dipak Jain is a cherished and award-winning educator who has accomplished leadership at business schools on three separate continents. He spent 25 years at the world-leading Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in the US - eight years as Dean. His international vision extended to the joint Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA, where he helped the University’s faculty and Kellogg colleagues steer the program to the world’s No 1 spot in the Financial Times league table in 2007 - a collaborative achievement the program has now attained eight times in total. As head of Kellogg, then INSEAD, and recently Director of Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, he has been a powerful voice for global change. He also strove to increase business education’s relevance to the corporate world while retaining intellectual rigor.
Prof Yan Lianke is one of China’s most distinctive contemporary authors. While the experimental writing that flourished in the late 1980s and 1990s in Mainland China has mostly moved back to realism, writer Yan Lianke travels his own path to the shores of “mythorealism” - a term he originated for his creative vision. The literal works of Prof Yan - Sin Wai Kin Visiting Professor of Chinese Culture at HKUST, has received numerous recognition including the Lu Xun Literature Prize and Lao She Literature Prize at home. He was also the first Chinese writer to earn the Franz Kafka Literature Prize, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, among others. His books have now been translated into over 20 languages.
Prof David Paul Rossiter, Associate Professor of Engineering Education in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, joined HKUST in 1996, he has earned numerous recognition including the HKUST School of Engineering’s Teaching Excellence on six occasions, the Best Instructor for the Master’s Degree in Information Technology on five occasions, and the Best Ten Lecturers award. He plays a key role in new curriculum design and course development, in particular for the four-year undergraduate degree, he has also been heavily involved in the creation, and subsequent leading, of several new introductory first-year computing courses.
Adrian Wu Tsz-Hin, Year 4 student of Professional Accounting and Information Systems, was the Chairperson of the Students’ Union Council in 2015-2016 and as Promotion Secretary on the Students’ Union Executive Committee from February to April 2017. He played an important role in fostering closer relationships and a teamwork spirit among the Students’ Union and its affiliated societies.
About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (www.ust.hk) is a world-class research university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. HKUST attained the highest proportion of internationally excellent research work in the Research Assessment Exercise 2014 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee, and is the world’s second in the latest QS’ Top 50 under 50 ranking. Its graduates were ranked 12th worldwide and top in Greater China in Global Employability University Survey 2017.
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