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The Hon Sir Albert RODRIGUES

Doctor of Laws
honoris causa

On Guy Fawkes' Day fifty-one years ago was born in Hong Kong Alberto Maria Rodrigues. If he was not destined to produce the explosiveness and sparkle of the pyrotechnics associated with that day, no more was he to assume their other nature of evanescence, a quiet, and lasting light rather than the sporadic and many-coloured quality of fireworks was to characterize his career.

Our graduand is thus coeval with this University. For this and many cogent reasons was he appointed Chairman of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations which last year wrote a brilliant chapter in the history of this institution. He received his early education at St Joseph's College, whence he came to us as an Inez Soares Scholar, and very quickly distinguished himself both academically and in the playing field. He captained the University Cricket Eleven which, with our Vice-Chancellor as a member, finished at the top of the League in 1932, was Captain of Hockey, thus earning his colours twice over, and also played hockey for the Colony. If today his unrobed silhouette belies the fleet-footedness that all this indicates, the doctor's present outlines may be ascribed to a happy married life. Despite his undergraduate preoccupation with sporting activities, he was successful in his medical finals in 1934, receiving his degree and winning the Chan Kai Ming Prize. Three years in Lisbon and London followed, with paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology as his special subjects; and in 1937 Dr Rodrigues returned home to begin private practice. The high birth-rate in this Colony and the demand for his services by many expectant mothers did not prevent him from indulging in other pursuits such as the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps, and four years later this landed Lieutenant Rodrigues in Shamshuipo Camp as a POW There, the birth-rate was nil, Dr Rodrigues turned his hand to fathers and potential fathers; and many an ex-fellow prisoner owes his health if not his life to the ministrations of the doctor. He emerged from that camp in 1945 with the rank of Captain and soon after received his majority and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (Military Divi-sion). His interest in public affairs was manifest even before the Pacific War, and in 1940 he was, unaided by any organisation with a political platform, fixed or shifting, elected to the Urban Council where, returning after the Liberation he continued until 1950 when he left us once more, this time to go to North America for further post-graduate work.

In 1949 his services to the Portuguese Community were rewarded with the Order of Christ. On his return in 1953 Dr. Rodrigues was appointed to Legislative Council and in 1959 to Executive Council of which he is now the Senior Unofficial Member. In 1960 he received the Order of the British Empire (Civil Division). Notwithstanding the considerable amount of work which a large practice and membership of Councils entail, Dr Rodrigues somehow has managed to find time not only to sit but also to work hard on a number of Committees, all of which profit by his counsel and industry. In his practice, he has earned the gratitude of thousands of mothers; and his scrupulousness in their treatment has contributed significantly to the lowering of infant mortality here. It is natural that the well-founded fastidiousness so necessary to a successful obstetrician should pervade his other interests. This is why he is anxious that, unless guaranteed the prophylaxis which will safeguard the Colony's economic health and well-being, we should, if possible, avoid contagion from too close association with the vulgar or common market.

Mr Chancellor, I discharge my first duty as Public Orator with particular pleasure because it is to introduce to this Congregation, as worthy of the University's highest honour, a leading citizen of the Colony, who is also a member of my community and a great personal friend.

Citation written and delivered byDr Leo D’Almada E Castro, CBE, QC, LLD, the Public Orator of the University.

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