The Public Orator Professor Peter Bernard Harris, B.A., B.SC. (Econ.), PH.D., D.Litt. (PCE), wrote and delivered the following citation:
When Professor Sean Mackey retired on November 30, 1976, he had served the University for over nineteen years as Taikoo Professor of Engineering and as Professor of Civil Engineering. Prior to his appointment, he was the UNESCO Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of the UNESCO Technical Assistance Mission in Kharagpur, West Bengal, where he was responsible for the development of the then new Indian Institute of Technology in the city. During his tenure of office in the University, he was Dean of Engineering from 1957 to 1958 and Dean of Engineering and Architecture from 1958 to 1967. As Dean, he was instrumental in reinstituting the electrical engineering and mechancial engineering degree courses in the University in 1959. As Professor, he was chiefly responsible for raising and subsequent-ly maintaining the very high academic standard in the civil engineering discipline in the University.
Over the years, Professor Mackey established a personal link with prominent members of the community at large and with leading members or the engineering profession in particular. Through his connections, the University received a number of large donations which gave the University among other things its first Computer Centre and its world famous High Building Research Centre. He presented many learned papers at international conferences and his outstanding success in the fields of High Building and Foundation Engineering earned him the award of a higher doctorate degree from the National University of Ireland in 1974.
Shortly after he began his career in Hong Kong, Professor Mackey played an active part in the Hong Kong Joint Group of the three major British Engineering Institutions and in the Hong Kong Engineering Society during the formative years of the two institutions. He was the president of the Hong Kong Engineering Society in from 1964 to 65. Presently, he is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers and a Fellow of the Geological Society. In the last decade, Professor Mackey made considerable contribution in community services for which he was appointed a Justice of the Peace. He was also awarded an O.B.E. in 1967.
Among his more recent public services are his membership in the Commission to enquire into the landslide disasters in 1972, and his membership in the Public Panel of Experts on the Sau Mau Ping slopes in 1976.
One of the admirable qualities of Professor Mackey is his deep concern for the well-being of his staff and students. He would time and again go out of his way to promote the interests of those for whom he is responsible. He was so highly respected by the students that they appointed and retained him as the president of the Hong Kong University Engineering Society during his entire career at the University. Year after year, he contributed generously towards the various student functions. It is a most remarkable fact that he and his wife, Lilian, hardly missed a single major student function during the nineteen years of his presidency of the student Society.
The University owes Professor Mackey a debt of gratitude for his most distinguished service in the development of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, particularly in the development of the Departments of Engineering during his deanship. We wish him and his wife a very happy retirement and every success in the future.