HKU Bulletin June 2011 (Vol. 12 No. 2)

The first Degree Congregation, 1916. Sir Frederick John Dealtry Lugard Chancellor 1911-1912 and Honorary Graduate (Doctor of Laws) in 1916. Main Building, 1912. A shot of the roofless Main Building, taken after the World War II. HKU boasts a highly internationalized student body: 40% of its students are from 78 nations around the world. Looking north again The rebuilding process took many years but by the 1980s, after China started opening its door, the University began to turn around full circle to face north again. This has led to academic and internship programmes with leading Mainland universities, a study centre in Shanghai and keen interest from students in China. The University today admits only one in 24 non- local undergraduate applicants (including China) and attracts applications from 84 countries. It is ranked the best university in Asia and among the top 25 universities in the world*. HKU therefore continues to be guided by the ambition of its founders, a goal that has been formalized in the University's re-articulated vision statement of 2009: The University will strive "to attract and nurture outstanding scholars from around the world through excellence and innovation in teaching and learning, research and knowledge exchange, contributing to the advancement of society and the development of leaders through a global presence, regional significance and engagement with the rest of China." *HKU was 21 st in the 2010 Times Higher Education World University Ranking and 23 rd in the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Ranking. Centenary A Vision of Excellence Comes Full Circle This article marks the beginning of a series that looks back over the University's first 100 years and finds that HKU can celebrate its centenary much as its founders intended: as a regional academic centre that adheres to world-class standards. demand in the country for higher education and training. In Hong Kong, momentum was also building among local leaders to establish a full university here. The Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese had been teaching Western medicine since 1887 and it seemed fitting to develop the University from this core. International standards Lugard agreed to pursue this goal with a condition: "[I]n my opinion no degree should be issued which is not fully up to the standards of degrees granted by Universities of the United Kingdom or America." The pursuit of excellence, therefore, was a driving force from the University's earliest days. The first students were admitted in 1912 and during the pre-war period typically consisted of a majority of students from China and Southeast Asia, thus underscoring HKU's regional purpose. There were three faculties at first, Medicine, Engineering and Arts, and the latter had the specific goal of providing training for the higher grades of the Chinese civil service (although this would almost immediately be thwarted by the crumbling of order in China). The arrival of the Second World War and the Communist takeover in China further disrupted the University's regional goals, but there was little time to look back because Hong Kong now desperately needed a university to serve its own citizens and address its own problems. The city had been damaged by war and inundated by refugees, and HKU provided it with expertise in medicine, engineering, teaching, social welfare and other fields so it could rebuild. In 1908, the then Governor, Sir Frederick Lugard, laid down the gauntlet for a new university for Hong Kong - and thus, articulated the beginnings of a vision for HKU. "I believe that Hong Kong should be the Oxford and Cambridge of the Far East .... I believe myself in the awakening of China and the opportunities for reciprocal benefits which that awakening will give to us and I believe that we must either now take these opportunities or leave them to others to take." Although the Oxbridge model for HKU would change, the ambition has remained: to create a university of the highest standards that serves the needs of the region. The region in the early 1900s was on the brink of profound change. China was about to become a republic and, like today, there was a growing June 2011 07