Citations and Speeches


Congregation (1940)

Sir Arthur MORSE

The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor K.H. Digby, O.B.E., F.R.C.S., wrote and delivered the following citation:

Mr. Chancellor, Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen: First of all, I wish to express our profound sympathy with the Vice-Chancellor, Mr. Sloss, in his sad bereavement.

In his deeply regretted absence, it falls to me as the oldest and most decrepit member of the teaching staff to announce the occasion of our Congregation.

Mr. Arthur Morse has been our Treasurer since January 1936. He has brought his sagacity and financial experience to bear upon our problems. As Treasurer, and as Chairman of the Finance Committee, his work for the University has been invaluable.

You know, the great Banking Institutions of the Far East have produced some pretty formidable personages. Mr. Morse is not one of those. In earlier days when Mr. Morse was more visible to the public who thronged the central hall of the Bank building, lady customers would pay unnecessary visits just for a glimpse of his genial countenance. And in recent years his cheerful friendliness has endeared him to all those members of the University with whom he has been in contact.

The decree appointing the 1937 University had one good effect: it led to an increase of Mr. Morse’s interest in it, and knowledge of, the University so that he became an even stauncher friend and even keener supporter than before.

In 1939 Mr. Morse spent much time as the Chairman of the University Sites Committee, and the fruits of these strenuous labours will be forthcoming in the years ahead.

So the Court of the University have decided that Mr. Morse’s ungrudging services for the cause of higher education have merited the award of our Honorary Degree.

Those of us who are members of the Court have just been listening to Mr. Morse’s last statement of accounts, and to his earnest plea for greater financial support.

A grave responsibility lies upon the University – to keep alive in this part of the world the now flickering flame of knowledge and culture, already damaged and imperiled by barbaric war.

For it cannot be said too often, nor insisted upon too strongly that this University does not exist for Hong Kong alone; it aims to occupy a place akin to that of the great mediaeval universities of Europe whither students flocked from all surrounding countries. And now that higher education in China is in dire straits, Universities and Colleges in ruins, and their personnel refugees, it is our privilege to help as we can, and our hope, when peace comes, to play some small part, if wanted, in the re-staffing and the rehabilitation of these our sister universities.

There must be many wealthy men in this Colony, some of them seeking refuge here, who are at a loss to know where to place their money safely. I would ask them what better investment for their children and for posterity, what nobler use of their money could they make than the endowment of a seat of learning in this fortunate isle where the tides of destruction do not reach.

Mr. Morse, we warmly congratulate you on your high promotion, though, alas, it means your leaving us. We thank you for all your help, and we wish you and Mrs. Morse a safe and happy journey home.

Mr. Chancellor, I beg you to present to Your Excellency Mr. Arthur Morse who is deemed worthy of the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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