Honorary University Fellows
Citation for Mr Raymond To written and delivered by Dr Gabriel M Leung at the Honorary University Fellowships Presentation Ceremony on December 15, 2005:
Angel of Hong Kong theatre, the world is his stage: Raymond To Kwok Wai is the pre-eminent local contemporary playwright, screenwriter and film director. He has produced an irresistible blend of theatrical innovation with Hong Kong Cantonese tradition that routinely sells out the house. For giving us such popular classics including I have a date with spring＜我和春天有個約會＞, A sentimental journey＜劍雪浮生＞, Legend of mad phoenix <南海十三郎>, he has left generations of theatre-goers and students of the dramatic arts in his debt.
As an undergraduate at this University, To majored in geography, graduating in 1971 to become a high school teacher for the next two decades. With this unlikely start for a thespian, albeit preceded by a brief but brilliant childhood career as a radio drama personality, he describes his metamorphosis from teacher to bard as “fate”. Returning from a sabbatical in New York in 1992, To joined the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre and started his second career as a professional playwright.
On stage and screen, To's spirited portrayals of the human condition and realistic dramatic sketches of interpersonal emotions inspire and delight us. But when the lights are dimmed, his work is just beginning. He has adapted many of his works as teaching materials for both secondary and tertiary students. To also regularly returns to his alma mater to help nurture the younger generation, especially in general education broadening courses that aim to inculcate a renaissance worldview among our students.
Playwrights, directors, actors, students, and fans have followed To's vision, his daring, and his commitment to nurturing our youth. For his dedicated support of the fine arts in education, for his tireless efforts to foster a creative future for Hong Kong, I present to you, Mr Pro-Chancellor, Mr Raymond To Kwok Wai for the Honorary University Fellowship.