Citations and Speeches

Citations

56th Congregation (1961)

Leo D'ALMADA E CASTRO
C.B.E., Q.C., B.A., J.P.

The Public Orator Professor D. Barker, M.A., D.Phil., wrote and delivered the following citation:

Most universities, in their distant past, can call to mind an undergraduate who took so long over achieving graduate status that his teachers, in desperation, were tempted to award him a degree on the grounds of long service. An alternative, but quite improbable solution would have been to award an honorary degree, and this, Mr. Chancellor, after a period of forty-two years, is precisely what we now request you to do in the case of our undergraduate Mr. Leo D'Almada.

He was born in Hong Kong in 1904 and came to us from St. Joseph's College at the age of fifteen, having, we regret to say, been obliged to matriculate twice in the same year owing to a lapse in security on the first occasion which enabled some of the candidates from another school to achieve one hundred percent. He left the Faculty of Arts three years later before taking his degree examinations, and went up to Exeter College, Oxford, to read Jurisprudence. He left Oxford, with a degree, in 1926, was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1927, and returned to Hong Kong the same year to practise. We then reaped the benefit of his hybrid university education, albeit only for a year, when he rejoined us as a Lecturer in Commercial Law.

A distinguished career as a lawyer has unfolded since then, interrupted by the war years which were spent in Macau serving as Liaison Officer between the Portuguese and British Governments in connexion with refugees. Towards the end of the war, he and his wife made a difficult and hazardous journey through Japanese-occupied China to India, and thence to the United Kingdom, where he made a valuable contribution to the plans for post-war Hong Kong that were being drawn up in London. In 1945 he was appointed President of the General Military Court in Hong Kong, resuming his legal practice upon its dissolution the following year. In 1947 he took silk, and today he is recognized as the leading member of Hong Kong's Portuguese community. He has served as an Unofficial Member of both the Legislative and Executive Councils of Hong Kong, and has been a member of the University Court since 1937. His legal talent is called upon in variety of ways. He has been a Justice of the Peace for the past twenty-four years, and since 1957 has served as Chairman of the Board of Review for appeals under Hong Kong's Inland Revenue Ordinance. For his public service he was designated Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1953. He has also been awarded the Portuguese Order of Christ. Today he has the distinction of becoming the University's first honorary graduate of Portuguese nationality. Mr. Chancellor, upon Mr. Leo D'Almada e Castro, our most distinguished undergraduate, we now request that you confer the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.