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HKBU to confer honorary doctoral degrees on four distinguished persons

12 Oct 2015

HKBU will confer honorary doctoral degrees on (clockwise from left top): Professor Robert Grubbs, Mr Robert Ho Hung-ngai, Mrs Hung Yeung Pong-wah and Ms Elizabeth Law Kar-shui
HKBU will confer honorary doctoral degrees on (clockwise from left top): Professor Robert Grubbs, Mr Robert Ho Hung-ngai, Mrs Hung Yeung Pong-wah and Ms Elizabeth Law Kar-shui

Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) will confer honorary doctoral degrees at its Commencement on 16 November (Monday) on four distinguished persons for their outstanding and professional achievements as well as their remarkable contributions to society.


Professor Robert H Grubbs, the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, will receive the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa. Mr Robert Ho Hung-ngai, a business leader, and Mrs Hung Yeung Pong-wah, a philanthropist, will be awarded the degree of Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa. Ms Elizabeth Law Kar-shui, an entrepreneur, will be bestowed the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa



Professor Robert H Grubbs (Doctor of Science, honoris causa)


Professor Robert Grubbs is an organic chemist whose work on catalysts has been widely applied in medicine and industry, and has paved the way for the development of green chemistry. Born to a rural family, Professor Grubbs began his university studies as an Agricultural Chemistry major at the University of Florida, US, where he discovered the joy of making new molecules. He obtained his PhD from Columbia University in 1968 and later worked as a postdoctoral fellow and Associate Professor at Stanford University and Michigan State University respectively. Professor Grubbs is currently the Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).


Over the past decades, Professor Grubbs and his research teams have worked on the development of powerful new catalysts for metathesis. In recent years, the major focus of the research group has been on the olefin metathesis reactions. To optimise the utility of this reaction, new catalysts, which are named Grubbs’ catalysts after Professor Grubbs, have been developed. In addition to their broad usage in academic research, these catalysts have also led to the advancement in industrial and pharmaceutical methods which have become simpler, more efficient and environment-friendly. This marks a great step forward for green chemistry and the possibility of reducing potential hazardous waste through smarter production methods.


A scientist with perseverance and dedication, Professor Grubbs has exerted a positive and lasting influence on innumerable faculty members and students throughout his academic career which spans nearly five decades. Boasting over 600 publications and 135 patents based on his research, Professor Grubbs has been bestowed with numerous awards and prizes. Among his long list of honours, Professor Grubbs, along with two other scientists, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005 for his notable achievements in the development of metathesis in organic synthesis. 


Professor Grubbs has exhibited a lifelong dedication to higher education and academia, and an untiring effort in scientific research, which he has continued through research collaborations with HKBU since 2003. He has also shared with faculty and students his research work and insights into education. 


Mr Robert Ho Hung-ngai (Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa)


Mr Robert Ho was born and raised in Hong Kong. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Colgate University and Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University in the US. Mr Ho pursued a long career in journalism while also successfully managing his family’s property and other investments. Since his retirement, he has concentrated on philanthropic activities including the founding of The Robert H N Ho Family Foundation in 2005. Mr Ho believes the arts are fundamental to the growth and health of society and is very committed to supporting educational and cultural initiatives. In 2013, the Academy of Visual Arts at HKBU received a generous donation from the Foundation to run the “Through Our Eyes” photography programme which aims to inspire young people to examine various social issues through the use of photography and creative writing.


Under Mr Ho’s leadership, the Foundation has sponsored and supported numerous projects to encourage cross-cultural insight, including major exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, as well as the establishment of the Chinese Art Initiative at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.


To perpetuate the legacy of his late grandmother who was a devoted Buddhist, Mr Ho has contributed unceasingly to the enhancement of people’s understanding of Buddhist history, philosophy and practice. To promote the study and understanding of Buddhism and establish a global network of scholarship, the Foundation has endowed and funded chairs, programmes and scholarly research in Buddhist studies at leading universities worldwide. 


In addition, Mr Ho is also a steadfast supporter of medical research, and has generously donated towards the enhancement of medical facilities and services and a major initiative that enables continuous training of medical professionals and improves patient care in Canada. In 2013, he was appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the most prestigious accolade of the Province of British Columbia awarded to individuals in recognition of their dedication to bettering people’s lives. Apart from that, Mr Ho has been bestowed with awards and honorary degrees for his tireless contributions and dedication to philanthropy from a number of local and overseas academic institutions including The Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, The University of Hong Kong, Colgate University and the University of British Columbia. 



Mrs Hung Yeung Pong-wah (Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa)


Mrs Hung Yeung Pong-wah, a devout Christian who was born in Hong Kong, has distinguished herself through her untiring social service and philanthropic activities. She is currently a Deacon of the Hong Kong Baptist Church, a Director of the Hong Kong Hymn Society, an Honorary Director of the Hong Kong Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), and the Chairman of Shiu Pong Enterprises Limited and the Hung Hin Shiu Charitable Foundation Limited. 


Over the years, Mrs Hung has dedicated herself to services for the community and promoting social welfare causes. Young people’s growth and development, and the wellbeing of infants and very young children are issues particularly dear to her heart. She previously served as Vice-President of the Hong Kong YWCA and Chairman of its Committee on Early Childhood Service, Chairman of St Paul’s Co-educational College Alumni Association and a member of the Management Committee of the Hong Kong Baptist Convention Primary School.


For many years, Mrs Hung demonstrated her enthusiasm and support for various causes of HKBU. When the University was still a private post-secondary college, Mrs Hung, together with her husband, the late Dr Hung Hin-shiu, donated generously towards the construction cost of Shiu Pong Hall, the official residence of the President and Vice-Chancellor. In addition, Mrs Hung and her charitable foundation provided financial support for the development of the University, including the establishment of scholarships in the School of Chinese Medicine and programmes that nurture postgraduate students. In 2011, the Institute of Creativity was founded with the tremendous support of the Hung Family. The Institute has greatly enhanced the University’s research culture, facilitated the work of outstanding talents undertaking research at HKBU, and demonstrated remarkable results in interdisciplinary research. An Honorary Trustee of the Hong Kong Baptist University Foundation, Mrs Hung has been offering her wise counsel on fundraising matters and other activities geared towards institutional advancement.


Mrs Hung has focused her charitable efforts on education, to which she has contributed significantly. She is the founder of Hing Yan Kindergarten and also the supervisor of nine other kindergartens. At the University of Macau, Mrs Hung established an endowment, in conjunction with her charitable foundation, for a residential college named Shiu Pong College to provide students with a fulfilling and enjoyable campus life. Under Mrs Hung’s leadership, the Hung Hin Shiu Charitable Foundation also funded scholarship schemes at various tertiary education institutions in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland to nurture students as they pursue a holistic education. 



Ms Elizabeth Law Kar-shui (Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa)


Ms Elizabeth Law is an entrepreneur who possesses a heightened sense of responsibility for the wellbeing of the community. Currently the Managing Director of Park Hotel Property Management Limited, she is known for her distinguished achievements in many industries, including textiles, garment, hotel management and realty investment and development. 


Her leadership acumen is not confined to the commercial field, it is also amply manifested in community service and pro bono activities. Ms Law was previously the Director, Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Yan Chai Hospital. She now serves as a member of the Hospital’s Advisory Board, a member of the Steering Committee on Child Development Fund of the Labour and Welfare Bureau, and sits on the Board of the Child Development Matching Fund. 


Ms Law has a deep concern for the health and wellbeing of the people of Hong Kong. She is a most generous donor, supporting Yan Chai Hospital’s expansion programme as well as financial aid schemes for patients in need. In 2001, she founded the Windshield Charitable Foundation with the aim of rendering assistance to disadvantaged groups in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. In recognition of her service to the community, Ms Law was awarded the Medal of Honour by the HKSAR Government in 2009.


Ms Law, and the Law’s Charitable Foundation which she chairs, are also firmly committed to supporting various educational causes, and have made many donations, both in Hong Kong and elsewhere, to build schools, improve campus facilities, establish scholarships, facilitate student exchange programmes, raise the quality of teaching as well as enhance students’ learning environment. As a tribute to her late mother, Ms Law donated towards the establishment of two schools, both named after her mother – Yan Chai Hospital Law Chan Choi Si Primary School and Yan Chai Hospital Law Chan Chor Si Secondary School. In addition, Ms Law also acted on behalf of her family through Law’s Foundation Limited to provide funding support to various primary and secondary schools as well as kindergartens. The foundation headed by Ms Law is also actively engaged in a wide variety of meaningful causes, such as medical services, disaster relief, community building, and environmental protection.


Sharing HKBU’s ethos and holistic approach to education, Ms Law donated to the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology and established the Endowed Chair of Advanced Materials, the Mainland Students Scholarship Fund and so forth. Over the years, she has also contributed extensively to the University’s fundraising activities in her capacity as a Honorary Permanent President of the Hong Kong Baptist University Foundation, a member of both the Board of Governors and the Entrepreneur Committee of the Hong Kong Baptist University Foundation, and a Honorary President of the Developing Committee of the HKBU Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology.