The Kadoorie family has been intimately associated with the development of Hong Kong for nearly a century. In the early days, the father of our honorary graduand, Sir Elly Kadoorie, and his uncle, Sir Ellis, established a world-wide reputation for philanthropy in medicine and education. Today their places are filled by the brothers Lawrence and Horace.
Mr Lawrence Kadoorie was born in Hong Kong in 1899, and was educated in Shanghai and England, where he ultimately became a law student at Lincoln's Inn, London. His progress in law, however, was destined to be more honorary than actual for his main interest has always lain in engineering and industry. Into this field, in the firm founded by his father, and with his brother Horace, as partner, he has brought an energy, ingenuity, and foresight that many would say amounted to genius. It has thus followed naturally that in the course of time he has become either Chairman or Director of a large number of leading business concerns in Hong Kong, such as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, the Hong Kong Engineering and Construction Company, the Nanyang Cotton Mill, and the China Light and Power Company. In philanthropy he and his brother have carried on the family tradition. In Hong Kong they were responsible for founding the New Territories Benevolent Society, which established small hospitals and clinics in rural districts, and also the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association for the assistance of farmers in the New Territories. The KAAA, founded in 1951, has made an outstanding contribution in assisting refugee farmers and co-operating with the Government in the agricultural development of the New Territories.
In addition to this wide range of interests, he has also found the time to serve on a number of important councils and committees. These include the Executive and Legislative Councils of Hong Kong; the Court and Council of this University; the Board of Education; and a variety of advisory bodies concerned with such matters as labour, taxation, town planning, and public transport. He has served on the University Council for the past ten years, and on the University Press Committee since its inception in 1956. In these bodies his shrewd judgement and practical viewpoint have proved invaluable. Those who regard the University as a remote pagoda of learning, in which the bells tinkle as the bats fly in and out, will be relieved to hear that Mr Lawrence Kadoorie has helped to lay its post-war foundations, and to ensure that the dreamers upstairs periodically come down to earth. One of the dreams conceived in the upper storeys was that we should resuscitate our pre-war Departments of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. Its practical expression lay in the report of the Council's Engineering Advisory Committee, set up in 1958 with Mr Lawrence Kadoorie as Chairman; its final implementation has taken place this year. In this evolution he has played a vital role, giving both moral and material support. His advocacy of the great value of close co-operation between the University and the community was demonstrated last week when, as Chairman of the China Light and Power Company, he opened the new Steam Laboratory made possible by a handsome grant from that Company.
In 1939 both he and his brother were created Chevaliers de la Legion d'Honneur in recognition of their services to France in continuation of the work initiated by their father, who built many schools and hospitals in Europe and the Middle East. In 1959 the brothers received the Solomon Schechter Award from the World Council of Synagogues, a rabbinical award of great distinction. It is with pride and pleasure, Mr Chancellor, that the University now requests you to confer upon Mr. Lawrence Kadoorie the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa.
Citation written and delivered by Professor D Barker, MA, DPhil, the Public Orator of the University.