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LI Shu Fan

Doctor of Laws
honoris causa

The Public Orator Professor D. Barker, M.A., D.Phil., wrote and delivered the following citation:

The death of Dr. Li Shu Fan on November 24, 1966 brought to an end one of the most remarkable careers in the history of Medicine in Hong Kong but it will be many years before his memory fades from the minds of those who knew him. Li Shu Fan was born in Hong Kong in 1887. He spent his early years in a small village in Kwangtung Province but went to live with his father in Boston for 3 years before returning to Hong Kong in 1902 with the intention of studying at the Hong Kong College of Medicine. He graduated with distinction as a Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery in 1908 and proceeded to Edinburgh where he graduated M.B.,B.Ch. in 1910 and obtained the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1911. As an Imperial Chinese Government Scholar Dr. Li then returned to China in time to participate in the stirring events of 1911. He became Minister of Health under the joint Revolutionary Military Government in Canton but when Canton fell to General Lung in 1912 he retired to Hong Kong and entered private practice. He returned to Edinburgh in 1921 to undertake post-graduate studies and obtained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1922. From 1923 to 1925 he was Dean of the Kung Yee Medical College in Canton, then he returned again to Hong Kong and undertook the management of the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital. As both Superintendent and Chairman of the Board of Directors he was very largely responsible for the growth of this fine hospital which incidentally is the only private hospital in the Colony which conducts a training school for nurses and midwives.

During the years before the war, Li Shu Fan entered into the public life of the Colony, becoming a member of the Sanitary Board, Member of the Urban Council and of the Legislative Council, President of the Chinese Medical Association, District Chief Surgeon of St. John's Ambulance Brigade, a member of the Medical Board, an unofficial Justice of Peace and a member of the University Court. When the war came and Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese Dr. Li continued to run his hospital until in August 1943 he managed to escape to the Mainland. He returned in 1945 to engage once again in the management and development of his hospital and entering again into public life, he became a Member of the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Anti T.B. Association, a Council member of the Mission of Lepers Hong Kong Auxiliary, and was again appointed a member of the Court. He became a member of the Board of Regents of the International College of Chest Physicians in 1956 and an Honorary Fellow of the International College of Surgeons in 1961. Dr. Li's generosity to the University in making an outright gift of 80,000 square feet of land is well known and the University recorded its appreciation by naming the preclinical building at Sassoon Road after him and by conferring upon him the Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1961.

Since the establishment of the Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation in 1962 with Dr. Li as Chairman of the Board of Governors, the Foundation has provided scholarships, bursaries, prizes, research grants, research fellowships, and a 3 year lectureship in the Depart-ment of Paediatrics.

The many references in the University Calendar to the awards provided by the Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation, the pre-clinical building which bears his name, his professional writings and his autobiography "Hong Kong Surgeon" form part of the late Li Shu Fan's memorial but only a part, for there is also the enduring memorial of the Hospital which he twice brought from near insolvency to flourishing development, and more important perhaps than all these the intangible memorial made up of all the memories of him, in the minds of those he met and influenced during a life which, it has been aptly said, 'harmoniously combines incredible adventures and great achievements'.

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