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Sir David Clive Crosbie TRENCH

Doctor of Laws
honoris causa

Criticism is the tax one pays for being eminent. Be that as it may, I feel that we can say, without fear of contradiction, that the eminent person before us, or at least his administration, has had more than his fair share. It may, therefore, surprise the purveyors of ill-will and the latent Brutuses among us to find that we have come to praise him.

David Clive Crosbie Trench was born on June 2, 1915. He was educated at Tonbridge School and then at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he received the degree of Master of Arts. Soon after graduation he joined the Colonial Service as a cadet and was posted to the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. This year will mark the thirtieth anniversary of his first appointment.

During the war he served with distinction in the Solomon Islands Defence Force, attaining the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was awarded the Military Cross and the United States Legion of Merit for his services. But I cannot help feeling that he would place at the top of any list of his achievements during this period his success in winning the hand of Miss Margaret Gould whom he married in Suva in 1944.

During the period 1950 to 1961, Sir David served in various capacities in the Colonial Secretariat in Hong Kong. When he elft to take up his appointment as High Commissioner for the Western Pacific in 1961 he had attained the rank of Deputy Colonial Secretary in Hong Kong. He returned to Hong Kong as Governor on April 14, 1964.

In giving the achievements of Sir David and his contributions to the prosperity of Hong Kong I could easily present a list of completed public works that would gladden the heart of any politician standing for re-election. But our graduand is well aware that a city is no greater than the little people that live there. The recent proposals for improvement in labour legislation are clear indications of where his interests lie.

By virtue of the grace that is inherent in the high office he now holds, Sir David commands our respect. However, it is clear that this respect has been well earned. And of late we have come to respect him more. After leading us out of the woods last summer, Sir David may well have chosen to rest on his laurels. But he is not one to live on past glory. He has been looking forward, planning for our future. And I am moved to agree with the Hon. Director of Public Works that “Trench Works Ahead”.

As Chancellor of the two Universities in Hong Kong he has shown a deep and active interest in their development and has done much to promote higher learning. Among his important contributions are the establishment of the Government Special Committee on Higher Education in 1964 and the University Grants Committee in 1966.

Mr Pro-Chancellor, our graduand is the owner of many hats. In requesting you to confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Law, honoris causa and in so doing burden him with yet another hat, we are confident that it will be worn, like all the others, with grace and dignity.

Citation written and delivered by Dr Arnold Chia-Loh Hsieh, BSC, MD, DSC, the Public Orator of the University.

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