The Public Orator, Professor M.M.M. Chan, MA, MPhil, wrote and delivered the following citation:
Our next graduand is not a stranger to the hallowed halls of academia, either as student, as teacher or as honorand. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Dr. Victor Fung Kwok-king received Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Doctorate in Business Economics from Harvard University. After graduation he joined the Corporate Banking Group of Citibank in New York. He then joined the staff of Harvard Business School and was an Assistant Professor for four years before returning to Hong Kong in 1974. Academia's loss was to be the business community's gain. On his return he joined Li and Fung, a leading Hong Kong-based regional trading company. In 1980 he was appointed the group's managing director. In 1986 Dr. Fung and three partners co-founded Prudential Asia, the Asian investment management subsidiary of the Prudential Insurance Company of America; he is Chairman of Prudential Asia and has been Chairman of Li and Fung since 1989. But the Chairmanship of these two large enterprises – Li and Fung alone has a total staff of 2,500, many of whom are our graduates – are not the only hats which Dr. Fung wears. He is also Director of Hong Kong Telecom. And his commitment to public service and to the Hong Kong community is such that Dr. Fung also serves in many other capacities.
The public role for which Dr. Fung is perhaps best known is the Chairmanship of the Trade Development Council, the statutory body responsible for the promotion of Hong Kong's external trade. In his capacity as Chairman, he presides over a 19-member council comprising government officials and representatives of Hong Kong's major business and economic associations. The TDC has a staff of 750. As Chairman of the TDC since 1991 Dr. Fung has overseen the doubling of the number of its overseas offices from twenty-six to fifty-six; they have the role of projecting the right image of Hong Kong abroad, making sure communities around the world are aware of our smooth transition and continued stability and prosperity. Because Dr. Fung himself has absolute confidence in Hong Kong's future, he is convinced that Hong Kong's role will not only continue but be enhanced after the transition, Dr. Fung feels that an important mission is: to ensure the message is relayed effectively to the world. Dr. Fung's qualities of leadership are such that, as in the case of Li and Fung, the espirit de corps of the Trade Development Council is very strong.
Also with the aim of strengthening the sense of Hong Kong's continued stability and prosperity and to increase Hong Kong's international presence generally, Dr. Fung is active as Hong Kong's representative on multinational organizations. To give only a partial listing would already be exhausting; to serve on all of them requires boundless ability, energy and commitment.
From 1989 to the present he has been a member of the Hong Kong United States Cooperation Committee; since 1991, a member of the Hong Kong Japan Business Cooperation Committee and from 1993 Chairman of the Hong Kong Korean Business Roundtable. These are high-powered groups for strengthening business ties between member countries. He has served on the Eminent Persons Group of Apec (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Committee), which sets the vision for eighteen economies in the region. From 1996 he has been Hong Kong's representative on APEC's Business Advisory Council, acting as Co-Chair of the Finance and Investment Section. The Council is the voice of business in this region.
For over two decades, since his return to Hong Kong, Dr. Fung has been involved in public service, some of which reflect his professional expertise, others his civic, philanthropic and personal interests. His public service includes working for the Public Service Commission, the Securities Commission, the Trade and Industry Advisory Board, the Central Policy Unit, the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation, the Community Chest of Hong Kong, the World Wildlife Fund. Among his current activities are membership of the Governor's
Business Council, the Judicial Services Commission and the Judiciary Working Party, and the Public Sector Reform Policy Group.
He has confounded those who deride academia with the comment "those who can, do; those who can't, teach.” He has shown he can both do and teach. Nor has he abandoned his role as a teacher. After he returned to Hong Kong he taught courses at our sister institution, the Chinese University of Hong Kong's
Faculty of Business Administration, and when called upon by our institution to lend his considerable expertise to our business school he has given unstintingly. He is currently serving as an Honorary Professor and advising the Vice-Chancellor on the future direction of the school, helping it to identify its distinctive competence. Dr. Fung has shown himself to be dutiful and loyal to each alma mater – the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, looking after their interests in various capacities. He has been Director of the MIT Club of Hong Kong for over a decade; as for the Harvard Club of Hong Kong, he has been President, Director and he is now Trustee of the Harvard Club of Hong Kong Foundation. In his generosity of spirit he has also given time and energy to our university.
In seeking to honour Dr. Fung we are merely joining in the chorus of voices raised in praise of his ability and public spirit. He has been the recipient of numerous awards. In 1993 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his dedication to public service. He received a Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University, awarded to outstanding alumni in 1995; the same year he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Commercial Science from Suffolk University, named Businessman of the Year, a title awarded under the Business Awards Scheme for success as an entrepreneur and contribution to Hong Kong's economic development. He was also named, together with his brother, William Fung, one of the Top 25 Managers of the Year in an international survey carried out by Business Week.
Our community has no dearth of captains of commerce; in Dr. Victor Fung Kwok-king we have a veritable admiral or five-star general of commerce and entrepreneurship. Mr. Chancellor, for his contributions to the economy of Hong Kong I call upon you to confer upon Victor Fung Kwok-king the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.