Citations and Speeches


Congregation (1926)

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws

The Vice-Chancellor Sir William Hornell, K.T., C.I.E., M.A. (Oxford), wrote and delivered the following citation:

Mr. Richard Ponsonby Fane is well known in Hong Kong. He has served the Colony, nay the Empire in several ways, but always in a spirit of self-sacrificing devotion, which is at once evidence of his sense of service still animating his distinguished family and of that quiet and all-pervading piety which is so vital an influence in his life. Mr. Ponsonby was educated at Harrow, but had to leave school young owing to indifferent health. When he was only 17 he became private secretary to the governor of Natal, and has since served four other governors in the same capacity, including Sir Matthew Nathan and Sir Henry May. He has ministered to His Majesty’s representatives in Hong Kong, Natal, Trinidad, Ceylon and Fiji, and five years of his life have been spent in roving over the seas mainly in search of Governors, always a picturesque figure with the same brown comforter about his neck.

During the War, when Sir Henry May was Governor, this University was in difficulty owing to teachers not being available. Mr. Ponsonby Fane then came forward to help the University and ever since 1916 he has given himself unsparingly, in devotion and gratuitous service to the students of this institution. He has taught them; he has played cricket with them; and in the annals of the University Cricket Club his name is and will ever be a household word.

For some years Mr. Ponsonby Fane has made Japan his summer residence, only occasionally visiting his beautiful family seat in Somersetshire. Mr. Ponsonby Fane is always emphatic, that he is no scholar, though if genius be an infinite capacity for taking pains, few would have greater claims to the title than he has. At any rate Mr. Ponsonby Fane has published any interesting and valuable contributions to Western knowledge of things Japanese. He has published a treatise on the Imperial Family of Japan, a treatise entitled ‘Misasaki’ or the Imperial Tombs, a treatise entitled ‘Monogatari’, or the story of certain emperors or ex-emperors who were exiled. He has written about the ancient capitals and palaces of Japan and about the capital of Heian and its great palace. He has translated two exceedingly interesting Japanese books, one ‘Kokoro No Chikari’ or the ‘Strength of the Soul’: the other ‘Satorikata No Zu’ or the “Path of Knowledge”. Mr. Ponsonby Fane has been a friend to the University in many ways that few know of and we welcome him with acclamation, as one whose work in this University has been on long labour of love.

Citation written and delivered by Sir William Hornell, Vice-Chancellor.