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HKU confers Honorary Degrees upon five outstanding individuals at the 180th Congregation

March 27, 2009

Dr the Honourable David Li Kwok Po, Pro-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), conferred honorary degrees upon five outstanding individuals at the 180th Congregation on March 27, 2009 at 11:00am in Loke Yew Hall, HKU.

Honorary Degrees are awarded to individuals in recognition of their distinguished service and commitment to the University, the community, and to academia. They are also conferred to those who have made valuable intellectual, social and cultural contributions to society and the world.

The honorary degree recipients are:

Doctor of Letters honoris causa
Evgeny Igorevich KISSIN

Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa
Rita FAN HSU Lai Tai
Robert HO Hung Ngai
LAM Shan Muk
MOK Hing Yiu



Evgeny Igorevich KISSIN

Dr Evgeny Igorevich Kissin was born in Moscow in October 1971 and began to play the piano at the age of two. He entered the Moscow Gnessin School of Music when he was six, and came to international attention in 1984, when at the age of 12, Dr Kissin performed Chopin's Piano Concertos in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with the Moscow State Philharmonic, under Dmitri Kitaenko.

Since his first appearance outside Russia in 1985, Dr Kissin has played with leading orchestras and conductors, and performed in the world's greatest halls. He was named Musical America's youngest Instrumentalist of the Year in 1994 and was the youngest awardee of the Triumph Award in 1997, for his outstanding contribution to Russia's culture. He was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the Manhattan School of Music in 2001, and received the Shostakovich Award in Moscow in 2003 and the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize in 2005.

Kissin's recordings have received many awards, including the Edison Klassiek, the Diapason d'Or, the Grand Prix of La Nouvelle Academic du Disque and the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra).

In recognition of his contributions to the art of music, HKU will confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa.


Rita FAN HSU Lai Tai

Dr Rita Fan Hsu was born in 1945 in Shanghai and attended the St Stephen's Girls' College in Hong Kong. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Physics, a Certificate in Personnel Management and an Master of Social Sciences in Psychology, all from the University of Hong Kong. With over 25 years to her political career, Dr Fan was first appointed as the member of Legislative Council in 1983 by Sir Edward Youde, the then Governor of Hong Kong. In 1989, she became a member of Executive Council and the Chairperson of Education Commission.

In the lead-up to Hong Kong's reunification with China, Dr Fan served as a member of the Preliminary Working Committee for the HKSAR and the Preparatory Committee for the HKSAR.  She was elected as the President of the first Provisional Legislative Council from 1997 to 1998 and then the Legislative Council for three terms. Dr Fan was the first woman elected to the post and is also its longest-serving, holding the elected Presidency from 1997 to 2008. She is currently a Member of the Standing Committee of the Eleventh National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China.

In recognition of her contributions to public service in Hong Kong, HKU will confer upon her the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa.


Robert HO Hung Ngai

Dr Robert Ho Hung Ngai, Chairman of the Robert H N Ho Family Foundation, was born in 1932 in Hong Kong. Dr Ho obtained his Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University in 1956 and his Master of Science degree in Journalism in 1958 from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in the United States.

Dr Ho worked as a reporter with the Pittsburgh Press in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then with the National Geographic Magazine. After returning to Hong Kong, he joined the Kung Sheung Daily News - which was established by his late grandfather, Sir Robert Ho Tung - where he continued to serve until his retirement. Dr Ho contributed to the local development of journalism for over 20 years and was the elected Chairman of the Newspaper Society of Hong Kong for several years.

Since his retirement, Dr Ho has focused on philanthropic endeavours, and in 2005, founded the Robert H N Ho Family Foundation, which aims to foster Chinese arts and culture as a means of building understanding between China and the world, and to promote a deeper understanding of Buddhist philosophy internationally.

In recognition of his contributions to developing journalism and a philanthropic culture in Hong Kong, HKU will confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa.


LAM Shan Muk

Lam Shan Muk (more commonly known by his pen names, Lam Hang Chi and Shih Wei De) was born in 1940 and raised on the Mainland. After coming to Hong Kong, he joined the Ming Pao Daily in the early 1960s. After studying Economics at the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology, he returned to Hong Kong in 1969 and joined the Ming Pao Evening News, leading its financial section.

Dr Lam founded the Hong Kong Economic Journal in 1973 and the Hong Kong Economic Journal Monthly in 1977. For 25 years, he wrote a daily column, "Politics and Economics Review", in which he analyzed Hong Kong and international affairs. Dr Lam's articles are widely acclaimed for being objective, insightful and well-argued. Since 1997, "Lam Hang Chi's Column" has seen him writing about an even a wider range of subjects, including economic theories that interest him and which he hopes the reading public will find educational and interesting too. His writing has been anthologised into over 100 books in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Mainland. Dr Lam was awarded an OBE in 1991. An honorary degree from Lingnan University in 1999.

In recognition of his contributions to the journalism sector in Hong Kong, HKU will confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa.


MOK Hing Yiu

Dr MOK Hing Yiu was born in 1923 and is the great-grandson of the first comprador of the British firm Butterfield & Swire (Taikoo). Dr Mok joined the Medical Faculty of HKU in 1939, as a King Edward VII Scholar, but his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of war. He received wartime Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees from HKU in 1947 and was awarded the Hong Kong Defence Medal and the Auxiliary Medical Service Medal for his wartime service.

After further medical studies and clinical work in the UK, Dr Mok returned to Hong Kong and served in the Government's Medical & Health Department as Acting Medical Specialist. He started his own practice in 1953 and retired in 1993.

Dr Mok was an Honorary Lecturer at HKU in Medicine from 1951 to 1952, has served as Vice-President and President of the HKU Alumni Association, and supported the endowment of the Mok Hing-Yiu Professorship in Respiratory Medicine in 2007 and the Mok Hing-Yiu Distinguished Visiting Professorships in 2008.

Dr Mok is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the Hong Kong College of Physicians and the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (Medicine).

In recognition of his contributions to the medical sector in Hong Kong and to academia, HKU will confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa.