Fifteen Years Beyond Boundaries - Banquet in honour of Professor Way Kuo’s Presidency

Helen Mok

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Banquet in honour of  Professor Way Kuo’s Presidency
Mr Huang, President Kuo, members of the Council and CityU management team propose a toast.


A banquet themed “Fifteen Years Beyond Boundaries” was held on 4 May in honour of President Way Kuo, who is stepping down as President of City University of Hong Kong (CityU) at the end of his third term and 15 years of dedicated service. 

Mr Lester Garson Huang, Council Chairman, presided over the ceremony, which was attended by over 400 guests, including former Council Chairmen, members of the Council and Court, local celebrities, CityU friends, donors and supporters, honorary award winners from overseas, senior management representatives from sister institutions, and the CityU management team, faculty and staff, alumni and students. 

The hosts and guests spent an unforgettable evening reviewing the fantastic progress that CityU has made over the past 15 years under President Kuo’s leadership.

Banquet in honour of  Professor Way Kuo’s Presidency
Mr Huang


On behalf of the Council and the CityU community, Mr Huang thanked President Kuo for his selfless contributions, praising him as an outstanding, world-class academic leader and scholar who has led CityU wholeheartedly with incomparable perseverance. 

Mr Huang particularly praised President Kuo for his adherence to the principles of the “integration of teaching and research” and the “separation of education and politics” during his tenure.

During this period, he noted that CityU had been transformed into one of the fastest-growing universities in the world according to a range of quality indexes, making outstanding contributions to teaching, research, innovation and development. For example, CityU is ranked around the top 50 and among the top 100 in the world in terms of multiple QS and THE ranking indicators, respectively. These are the best rankings in CityU’s history. All guests gave President Kuo a standing ovation several times.

President Kuo delivered a 5-minute pre-recorded thank-you speech, “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way” In his address, President Kuo thanked Mr Huang for his leadership and Council for its trust, and he expressed his appreciation for CityU’s teaching and research teams, students, alumni and stakeholders. “CityU doesn’t win because of its youth, nor does it flaunt the size of its campus. Instead, it focuses on academic teaching and research and outstanding innovation. That is how we have won global recognition. Unity is the key to our glorious history,” he said. President Kuo also thanked the CityU community for its hard work during his presidency turning CityU into a world-class institution of higher education.

Banquet in honour of  Professor Way Kuo’s Presidency
Students who performed scenes from the Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof” at the banquet presented President Kuo with photos taken of their previous performances with him.

In honour of President Kuo’s achievements and contributions, the Council approved that CityU’s long-standing distinguished lecture series would be renamed the “Way Kuo Distinguished Lecture Series”. President Kuo will continue to serve as President Emeritus, a title awarded by the Council, and as Senior Fellow at the Hong Kong Institute for Advanced Study.

President Kuo has promoted the concept of the “integration of teaching and research” and the “separation of education and politics” over the past 15 years. A video clip played at the banquet showed President Kuo when he was installed as president on 14 May 2008 explaining that the university should “… respond to social needs through professional education, research, and innovation”.

President Kuo has repeatedly broken new ground in higher education. He has launched multiple innovative initiatives such as HK Tech 300, the first large-scale innovation and entrepreneurship programme in Asia, and he has also taken the lead in launching the first large-scale capital project among local universities, named “United, We Soar”. The target of HK$2.5 billion for this campaign was reached 18 months ahead of schedule. He has raised more than HK$3 billion for the University in total during his tenure.

In terms of academic progress, he set up a number of world-class academic units, including the School of Energy and Environment and the School of Data Science, and established the first six-year Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine programme in Asia designed to meet strenuous international accreditation standards. 

Over the past 15 years, CityU has recruited many world-class teaching and research faculty. According to a report released by Clarivate in 2023, 29 CityU scholars were named Highly Cited Researchers for 2022, placing CityU 44th worldwide in this citation ranking. By faculty size, CityU’s percentage of the world’s most Highly Cited Researchers puts it first in Asia.

During the social unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic, the CityU community responded calmly under President Kuo’s leadership; as a result, there was minimal impact on teaching and research. 

Banquet in honour of  Professor Way Kuo’s Presidency

As part of the evening’s celebrations, the CityU Choir sang the CityU Anthem Part I, “Beyond Boundaries”, and Part II, “Knowledge and Wisdom”, for which President Kuo wrote the lyrics. The CityU Anthem demonstrates our spirit of “in harmony, not conformity”, embraces diversity, and unites the CityU community in pursuing excellence and creating a better future.  

Banquet in honour of  Professor Way Kuo’s Presidency
Banquet in honour of  Professor Way Kuo’s Presidency

The Anthem followed the classic song “Fairy Tale” sung in both Chinese and English by President Kuo and Professor Dai Lin, Department of Electrical Engineering, who is concurrently the Director of the Global Engagement Office, to the piano accompaniment of Professor Michael Tse Chi-kon, Associate Vice-President (Strategic Research). For an encore, they performed another classic, “The Ends of the Earth”.

At the end of the banquet, guests and CityU teachers, students and alumni queued to have their photos taken with President Kuo. All guests were given a copy of Building a Leading Global University – CityU 2008-2023, published on the same day as the banquet. The book recounts the story of CityU, its people, and their passions and aspirations over the past 15 years.


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