Citations and Speeches


115th Congregation (1982)

JAO Tsung I
Honorary degree of Doctor of Letters

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

Mr. Jao Tsung-i, who joined the University in 1952 as an Assistant Lecturer in Chinese, resigned from his Readership in 1968, to become the first Professor of Chinese of the University of Singapore.

Mr. Jao's scholastic aptitude and brilliance have been recognisable from his earliest youth. Instead of sending him to one of the schools which were becoming a regular feature of modern education, his father personally undertook his initial training in Chinese scholarship. Mr. Jao proceeded from this to independent research, which led to his appointment at the remarkably youthful age of twenty as one of the editors of the Kwang-tung T'ung-chih, the standard record of encyclopaedic scope of the history, geography, and culture in general of the southern province, the compilation of which was sponsored by Sun Yat-sen University. Other academic appointments followed, among which were the headship of the Department of Literature and History at Nan-hua College, membership of the Kwangtung Provincial Documents Committee, and the editorship of the Ch'ao Chou T'ung-chih. When Mr. Jao came to Hong Kong in 1949 he continued contributing to learning and education by teaching first at Chu Hai College and then at New Asia College, until his services were secured by the University in 1952. He was appointed Lecturer in 1956 and won his Readership in 1966.

Mr. Jao's academic achievements are distinguished and varied. Not only is he astoundingly conversant in all aspects of classical Chinese literature, he is also an expert on palaeography and the 'oracle bones' of international renown. His research in these fields has taken him to many countries for the study of important collections and source materials, to Japan, India, Canada (on a research grant from the Harvard-Yenching Institute), the United States, France and Britain - the last two as a Research Fellow of the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. In 1962 Mr. Jao was awarded the Stnislas Julien Prize of the year by the French Academic des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, for outstanding work in sinological research.

Mr. Jao has published more than a hundred papers in international journals, and a number of books of which the most notable ones published by the University Press are Oracle Bone Diviners of the Yin Dynasty (1959) and the Tz'u-tsi K'ao - Examination of documents relating to Tz'u (1963). Mr. Jao is also a considerable poet, and some of his poems will no doubt reach a wider audience than the Chinese through the translations of Professor P. Demieville. Our loss of Mr. Jao, though to a friend of ours, the University of Singapore, must necessarily sadden us. We can only hope that, in his new post, Mr. Jao will continue his association with us in a new capacity.