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The Hon Dhun Jehangir RUTTONJEE

Doctor of Laws
honoris causa

Mr Chancellor, at this moment your former Senior Unofficial Member stands meekly before you, waiting to bow his head for your beneficial touch. When we review his long and distinguished career we must conclude that Dhun Jehangir Ruttonjee is alone in his surprise at finding himself in this position. He was educated at St Joseph’s College and the University of Hong Kong, where at a precocious age he displayed that rebellious spirit which impatiently drove him out in the service of the Colony. He has long been acquainted with the bench, for he has been an Unofficial Justice of the Peace since 1947; a year in which he also found himself sitting at a desk opposite the Commissioner for Police, although I should point out that he was there in his capacity as a special superintendent in the reserve branch. From that time onward his unofficial activity extended in a way that has rarely been paralleled in the annals of this community. He was an Unofficial Member of the Legislative Council from 1953 to 1968 and for five of these years he was Senior Unofficial Member, displaying a tenacity of purpose and firm conviction of belief which can only command our admiration.

It would unduly extend the length of this ceremony if I were to enumerate in full the range of his activities. But I would be remiss in my duties if I were to overlook the immense contribution he has made towards the improvement of Hong Kong’s medical and public health services and in the field of education. He is Chairman of the Hong Kong Anti-tuberculosis and Thoracic Diseases Association and Chairman of the Management Board of Ruttonjee Sanatorium and of the Grantham Hospital. For his outstanding anti-tuberculosis services he was given the Award of Honour by the Chest and Heart Association in 1966. A long standing member of the University Court and Council and of the Board of Education, he has also emerged as the accepted leader of the Indian community, encouraging new dimensions of activity amongst that talented group.

Gifted with those qualities of leadership on which the future well-being of our Colony depends, Dhun Ruttonjee has been unsparing in his efforts. Like the petals of the orchid which he habitually wears he has struck out for good in all directions, and his voice has been heard and will be heard again when the public conscience is perturbed.

Mr Chancellor, in June 1968 Her Majesty the Queen took note of Mr Ruttonjee’s many activities and accorded him with the title of Honourable, to which she graciously chose to commit him for life. That decision confirms the feeling of this Congregation that he has now correctly been brought before us to receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws which, Mr Chancellor, I respectfully request you to confer.

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

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