Citations and Speeches


Congregation (1936)

Sir Wilfrid Thomas SOUTHORN
K.C.M.G., K.B.E., M.A.

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

Sir Wilfred Thomas Southorn needs no introduction. From Warwick School he went to Corpus Christi College, Oxford. That college has had many famous sons. I will confine myself to mention of two – Sir Reginald Stubbs and Sir Thomas Southorn. Sir Thomas entered the Ceylon Civil Service in 1903; was Additional Assistant Colonial Secretary in 1909; Principal Assistant Colonial Secretary in 1920; Principal Collector of Customs and Chairman of the Post Commission in 1923. In 1926 Sir Thomas came here as Colonial Secretary. You know the rest. How often and how successfully he has administered the Government of Hong Kong and acted as Chancellor of the University; the enthusiasm with which he has always identified himself with everything and anything calculated to make the Colony a healthier and a happier place. Had it not been for Sir Thomas, I doubt whether there would have been even now a Branch of the English Association in Hong Kong; without his help the playgrounds for poor children would have been something very much less than they are now. Socially Sir Thomas and Lady Southorn have endeared themselves to everyone. I doubt whether there have ever been two persons in this Colony who had so many friends in all the sections of the Colony’s cosmopolitan population. The University is not giving Lady Southorn an honorary degree. It should be but Festina lente. In a hurrying world British universities move slowly. I am however quite certain that Sir Thomas would wish me to say what he knows and you all know – I refer to the great help that his wife has always been to him. But the Colony’s debt to Lady Southorn is not confined to what she has done for her husband – great as that boon has been to us all. “If you seek her monument, look round you.” Look at the International Women’s Club, and the Sandilands Hut for Girl Guides. They tell their own story.

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