Looking into the future: The 18th Congregation

Shuyee Chen

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Every graduation ceremony honours an end to years of study and hard work. For the 6,024 students who received their degrees, diplomas and certificates at CityU's 18th Congregation, it also marked the beginning of fresh challenges.

Held in nine sessions from 11 to 14 November, this year's ceremony conferred an unprecedented number of doctorate and Mphil degrees, 65 and 93 respectively. Other awards conferred included 1,182 Master's degrees, 46 Postgraduate diplomas, 174 Postgraduate certificates, 2,603 Bachelor's degrees, 1,733 Associate degrees, 86 Higher diplomas and 42 Diplomas.

Among the 5,200, or so, graduates who attended the 18th Congregation, more than 50 were from the first group of 84 graduates of CityU's Master of Business Administration programme, developed in collaboration with Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2001. They came from across the mainland, including Shanghai and Shenzhen.

"Most of the MBA programmes offered by mainland universities are more theory-oriented and their teaching material is dated," said Mr Mao Yiping, one of the mainland MBA graduates and Director and CEO of Shanghai Intnet Information Technology Co Ltd. "I've learned so much from my CityU professors who imbued us with knowledge based on issues in the real world," he added.

Among the mainland guests in attendance was Professor Zhang Junsheng, former Deputy Director of the New China News Agency (Hong Kong Branch), who was in Hong Kong from 1985 to 1998. Upon his return to Hong Kong this month, he received an Honorary Doctor of Science from CityU for his important contributions to the development of university education in mainland China, where he merged four universities in HangzhouCity and established the new Zhejiang University. Now Chancellor of Zhejiang University, Professor Zhang believes that an outstanding university should be comprehensive, research-oriented and innovative.

Apart from Professor Zhang, three other prominent individuals were conferred honorary degrees at the Congregation's fourth session, 12 November: Mr Henry Tang Ying-yen, Financial Secretary for Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, (Honorary Doctor of Laws); Professor Andrew Yao Chi-chih, world-renowned scientist and William and Edna Macaleer Professor of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University's Computer Science Department, (Honorary Doctor of Science); Mr David Eldon, Chairman of HSBC, (Honorary Doctor of Business Administration).

Speaking on behalf of the graduates, Ms Lynda Zhou, a Department of Economics and Finance graduate, reminded her classmates and schoolmates that adversity can make people stronger. "I think difficult times force us to think deeply about what we can learn from the past and what we can do in the future... I'm learning to appreciate the positive side of things, rather than complaining about the down side," she said.

In this, Zhao echoed the President's address in which Professor H K Chang took the late US President John F Kennedy's words to heart, advising the students to "'Ask not what the country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.' While each of you strives for your personal career, potential exists for a bright future for our country and Hong Kong, which, in turn, brings rich rewards, both spiritual and material," Professor Chang said.

Presented on the happy occasion of the 18th Congregation, the 2003 Teaching Excellence Awards went to: Dr Kokin Lam, Principal Lecturer of the Division of Commerce; Dr Kai Lim, Associate Professor of the Department of Information Systems; Dr Arthur Cheung Kam-chuen, Lecturer in the Department of Public and Social Administration; and Dr Maris G Martinsons, Associate Professor of Department of Management.


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