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HOU Pao Chang

Doctor of Science
honoris causa

The death on March 12 of Hou Pao Chang, Professor Emeritus of this University, brought to a close the long and distinguished career of one who was the pioneer of Pathology in China.

Born in Anhwei seventy-three years ago Professor Hou spent his youth in revolt against the blind acceptance of authority, a revolt in which he was encouraged by his grandfather who exerted a profound influence on the development of the man. He frequently spoke of the debt he owed to his grandfather to whom Medicine in general and Pathology in particular also are indebted for he was responsible for the young Hou Pao Chang setting his feet on the road which was to lead to graduation from the Union Medical College in Peking. It was no easy road to travel and to do so he needed the high courage and the indomitable will which were his to the end, qualities which enabled him also to triumph over many vicissitudes throughout his life. After two years spent in hospital practice in his native Anhwei he joined the staff of the Department of Pathology of Cheeloo University and embarked upon his life work which was to gain for him an enviable international reputation. Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships enabled him to study Histology under Maximow in the United States and Pathology under Ludwig Pick in Berlin. Both men made a deep impression upon him and to the latter may be traced the thoroughness of the methods used in all his endeavours. But a subsequent visit to centres of Pathology in the United Kingdom made an even deeper impression and thereafter he accepted as his model the British school. On these and other visits to both sides of the Atlantic he made many lasting friendships.

In 1936 he was appointed Professor and Head of the Department at Cheeloo, a post which he held for ten years and for the next two years he held the same appointments in the West China University. In 1948 he accepted the appointment of Professor of Pathology in this University and with it the challenge of creating a Department of which the assets at that time were but a meagre sum of money and an empty building. From this small beginning there developed the Department of Pathology which we know today. He gradually collected around young men who became infected by his enthusiasm and industry. He made of them pathologists and teachers, for he was himself an outstanding teacher, and they, in turn, gave him their affection, admiration and loyalty. We shared the challenging years following the reconstitution of the University and my debt to him is great both for the example which he set and for the encouragement which he gave.

Pathology was not an all consuming interest. He had a profound knowledge of things Chinese and, among his compatriots, he was held to be a Chinese scholar. He was never happier than when discoursing on some recently acquired addition to his collection of Chinese paintings and antique objets d'art. He had a high reputation as a historian and his appointment as Visiting Lecturer in the History of Chinese Medicine at the Institute of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins bore witness to his standing in this field.

He retired from his appointment in the University in 1960. His magnificent contributions to her were well recognised by the conferment of the title of Professor Emeritus and, in the following year, of the DSc honoris causa. Retirement was not the end of his endeavours in Pathology. On his return to China he was appointed Professor of Morbid Anatomy and also Vice-President of the Chinese Medical College, Peking. There, until his death, he continued to train pathologists and pursue his researches.

There can be no more fitting tribute both to the pathologist and to the man than that paid to him in a letter written to the writer by one of the great pathologists of all time, the late Professor Sir Roy Cameron, FRS "I am amazed at his courage, his enthusiasm, and the magnitude of his contributions to Pathology. His research work and the high quality of his teaching are widely recognised by his colleagues here in Europe and in America too. He leaves behind a fine tradition of research of high quality and an intellectual progeny who have benefited by and have absorbed something of his high standards. What he has achieved in Hong Kong in the years since he went there is a magnificent and lasting achievement. Those of us who are privileged to be his close friends appreciate also the great culture and scholarship, and the great humanity and kindness too, which underlie all his doings". Hou Pao Chang was indeed a man for all seasons. His gentleness and kindliness, dignity and courage will be remembered by those both of the East and of the West who had the privilege of knowing him. His memory will not fade with the years for his name is written indelibly in the annals of Pathology.

Citation written and delivered by Dr the Hon A M Rodrigues, Chairman of the Jubilee Committee.

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