Citation delivered by Professor Andy HOR, Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor
Mr Pro-Chancellor, distinguished guests – may I begin with this quote:
“It doesn’t matter who we are – whether we’re rich or poor, educated or not. We all deserve to be loved, respected and cared for.”
This is how Ms Maisy Ho Chiu-ha describes her core passion in life.
Ms Ho is the Executive Director of Shun Tak Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong-based conglomerate with core businesses in property, transportation, hospitality and investments.
Most of us can pinpoint certain people who significantly affected our lives. Often, we met them in childhood; sometimes later in life. But reminders of their words and deeds come back to us throughout our lives, shaping what we do and how we view the world.
For Ms Ho, there were three people – three women in fact – who were the foundation of her life.
First was her maternal grandmother, who lived a life of kindness, compassion and self-sacrifice.
Second was her mother, who planted in her a deep respect for the value of discipline and hard work.
And third was her kindergarten class mistress, who was patient, caring and nurturing; and who demonstrated the crucial qualities of a great teacher.
To remember her kindergarten experience so clearly, demonstrates not only Ms Ho’s remarkable memory, but also the depth of influence a teacher can have on a young child’s mind and the importance education has played throughout her life.
While Ms Ho holds a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Pepperdine University, USA, it should be noted that some twenty years ago, she also took a short certificate course at HKU.
She recalls fondly not only the academic experience but also the strong sense of fellowship that campus life at HKU is known for.
Perhaps this is not that unexpected, as Ms Ho describes her father – our loyal and legendary alumnus, Dr Stanley Ho – as “the first person I met from HKU!”
Ms Ho continues her family’s distinguished philanthropic tradition by supporting the University’s endeavours through the Shun Tak Holdings - Dr Stanley Ho Hung Sun Foundation. And just last year the Foundation sponsored the “Hong Kong Summit of Global Health Leaders”, the signature academic event of the Faculty of Medicine’s 130th anniversary celebrations.
The work Ms Ho undertakes for the community confirms and underscores the lessons of her childhood and on the importance she places on helping improve the lives of others.
She is extremely active in the community, serving on various boards and committees, including as a Member of the Board of Trustees at New Asia College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and as a Council Member of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She also currently serves as a Member of the Equal Opportunities Commission, and on the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education.
As Honorary Chairman of the Hong Kong Future Star Federation of Students since 2010, she promotes youth exchange activities between Mainland China and Hong Kong, to broaden teenagers’ horizons and help them build a positive attitude towards life. And she also advocates for youth development through collaborations with other academic institutions, non-profit organisations and NGOs.
Ms Ho has been both a Member and Chairman of the Board of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, during which she spearheaded many initiatives to contribute to the social good and to help the disadvantaged in Hong Kong.
These included the setting up of the “Tung Wah Group of Hospitals’ Student All-rounded Development Fund”; the organization of the first study tour to the US and China for secondary school students, and the appointment of the students as Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Student Ambassadors”; and the establishment of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Lucina Laam Ho Kindergarten to offer quality kindergarten education to children in public housing estates.
In 2016, Ms Ho was recognised for her services to Hong Kong when she was awarded a Bronze Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong SAR Government.
The idea that being kind and giving to others makes our lives more meaningful has been around for as long as people have been sharing stories.
We all find meaningfulness in our own way, and for Ms Ho that has meant being truly committed to making a difference in the lives of others, and in her own words: “to add a bit more warmth and caring to the community, and to make the world a bit better of a place to live.”
It gives me great pleasure, Mr Pro-Chancellor, to present Ms Maisy Ho Chiu-ha for the Honorary University Fellowship, in recognition of her longstanding contributions and excellent service to Hong Kong and to academia.