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LEE Iu Cheung

Doctor of Laws
honoris causa

In 1910, the year in which the foundation stone of our University was laid, a young man of fourteen named Lee Iu Cheung slipped away from home to participate in the revolutionary events which were taking place in Kwangtung. There he helped in the attack against the district capital of Sun King and planned to join the military expedition against the north. As a revolutionary he could have emerged as one of the important figures of our time. However, tides of change were also sweeping Hong Kong, less violent but equally attractive to a young mind looking for new worlds to conquer. In particular, the intellectual appeal of the new University and, we may suspect, the even more compelling voice of his father, summoned him back to finish his studies in Hong Kong. He entered the University and graduated with an honours degree in civil engineering in 1917. He then went on to further studies in the United States, with the distinction of being the first student from Hong Kong to enter Cornell University.

His intention was to devote himself to one of the most pressing of China's many problems, the conservancy of water and the improvement of irrigation techniques. As a hydraulic engineer he may well have emulated the achievements of Yu the Great, the legendary figure who succeeded in mastering the waters in early times. But filial duty once again summoned him back to Hong Kong, and after lecturing at the University for a while he was rapidly immersed in the management of his family's affairs. In this he was remarkably successful. Over the years, he channelled his manifest energies into numerous subsidiary fields and in truth plumbed his profession to the depths.

However, the smooth flow of an increasingly successful career did not wash away that youthful determination to devote himself to the betterment of his fellow men and in the ebb and flow of his many activities we can discern a strong and unfaltering current of public service which deserves our attention today. He has been an Honorary President of the Kowloon City Kaifong Welfare Association, Chairman of that Association's Free School and the Kowloon Tong School, Honorary Adviser to the Pok Oi Hospital in Yuen Long, member of the Tenancy Tribunal, the Compulsory Service Tribunal, the Po Leung Kuk, the Chinese Advisory Committee, the Hong Kong Reconstruction Committee, the Council of St John Ambulance Brigade and the Medical Advisory Board. For sixteen years he served on the Board of Directors of the Anti-Tuberculosis Association and for over thirty years in various capacities as Director, Chairman of the Board of Directors, member of the Permanent Advisory Committee, the Medical Committee, and Chairman of the Budget Committee of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals. Mr Lee has been a member of the Court of this University since 1948 and was appointed a life member in 1961.

Mr Chancellor, as we contemplate the ever widening expanse of Mr Lee's achievement it is fitting that we should show our approbation by requesting you to award him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

Citation written and delivered by Professor Leonard Kenneth Young, BA, DPHIL, the Public Orator of the University.

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