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HUA Tse Jen

Doctor of Laws
honoris causa

The Public Orator Dr. Arnold Chia-Loh Hsieh, B.SC., M.D., D.SC., wrote and delivered the following citation:

I have often wondered why institutions of higher learning, dominated as they are by males, are referred to in the feminine gender. Perhaps it is because of the obvious similarities between universities and extremely fertile and loving mothers. However, unlike true mothers, universities set their children free immediately after birth and appear not to care what they do or how they fare. But once in a while we do look about us and, ignoring those who have disgraced us, honour those who have brought us honour. Today the University has seen fit to honour two former graduates.

The first, Dr. Hua Tse Jen, was born on February 2, 1901, in Tientsin in a mud hut in the grounds of a starch factory. I lack the eloquence to do justice to the story of how his widowed mother, constantly stricken with illness, strove to provide for a family of four growing children. The seeds of his ambition to take up a life-long career of service to others and his concern for the welfare of youth were sown during those difficult years. The ground was fertile, and the tree has borne fruit for over forty years. After graduating from Nankai Middle School and studying mining for two years at the college of the same name, our graduand came to Hong Kong as a Hopei Provincial Scholar. He graduated M.B.,B.S. in 1927. After holding house appointments in Hong Kong for two years, Dr. Hua returned to North China and from 1929 till the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese hostilities he was medical officer to the Kai Lan Mining Administration. In 1937 he volunteered for service in the interior of China by joining the League of Nations Medical Service Unit 2, returning to Hong Kong in 1938. Appointed Superintendent of the Laichikok Hospital in 1938 and Superintendent of Kwong Wah Hospital in 1940, he continued to do volunteer work in the many refugee camps that were being set up by Sir Selwyn Clarke, the then Director of Medical and Health Services.

During the occupation, Dr. Hua continued to give freely of his services. His activities during this period are best summed up in the citation made when he was awarded the O.B.E. in June 1946:

'...for maintaining services at the Kwong Wah Hospital during hostilities and the Japanese occupation and for assisting prisoners of war and internees in spite of his own illness and even after release from detention by the Japanese'.

It is true that our graduand was brought up in the tough school of adversity, but he probably would not have succeeded without strong spiritual reinforcements.

For the past twenty-two years Dr. Hua has been in private practice, devoting much of his time to those who need him most, the poor. He is a founder of the Anti-tuberculosis Association and the Kowloon Rotary Club. But if one wishes to see his face light up with pride and love, one needs only mention the Society of Boys' Centres which he founded in 1953.

In his practice of medicine he has won the esteem and affection of his colleagues and patients. To his brother practitioners he has been guide, philosopher, and friend. One is not surprised, therefore, to find that he has the distinction of having been the President of both the British Medical Association (Hong Kong and South China Branch) and the Chinese Medical Association.

Mr. Pro-Chancellor, the University does not claim credit for all that Dr. Hua has done. However, he has graciously informed me that Sir Charles Eliot was the chief instigator of the Hopei Provincial Scholarships and so it can be said that we did play an active part in enabling him to achieve his ambitions. It is in recognition of the purity of these ambitions and the extent of his success in achieving them that a grateful alma mater now requests you to confer upon Dr. Hua Tse Jen the Degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa.

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