Four distinguished persons conferred honorary doctorates by CityU

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City University of Hong Kong (CityU) conferred honorary doctorates on four distinguished persons in recognition of their significant contributions to education and the well-being of society.

Professor Alain AspectMr Hu Shao Ming Herman, SBS, JP, and Professor Cédric Villani received the awards at a ceremony held today (26 November), while Dr the Honourable Lee Shau-kee, GBM, was conferred his award earlier. (For the biographies of the Honorary Doctorates, please refer to the attached pages.)

The Honourable Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, University Chancellor, presided over the ceremony, which was attended by Dr Chung Shui-ming, University Pro-Chancellor; Mr Lester Garson Huang, Council Chairman; Mr Vincent Chow Wing-shing, Deputy Council Chairman, and Professor Way Kuo, President.

“Each of our honorary award recipients this year has had a profound impact on society, inspiring others through their work and giving back to the world that nurtured them by helping to nurture young talent,” said Professor Kuo in his speech. “They hold true to what I have come to refer to as ‘soulware’, the much needed complement to the hardware and software found in universities today. Each possesses the right mix of dedication, hard work and imagination that constitute soulware.”

Addressing the congregation on behalf of the honorary graduates, Dr Herman Hu said he felt honoured to be ranked among such a distinguished group of world-renowned personages and to receive an honorary doctorate awarded by CityU.

He said he has witnessed how CityU transformed itself from a budding local university not widely recognised to a leading global university that is making a huge difference through excellence in its problem-based research and professional education. “I am delighted to see how [CityU’s] brand image is now strongly associated with discovery, innovation, originality and creativity, both locally and further afield,” he added.

Biographies of the 2018 Honorary Doctorates  

Professor Alain Aspect, a Wolf Prize Laureate in Physics and a professor at the Institut d’Optique Graduate School (Université Paris-Saclay) and at École Polytechnique, received an Honorary Doctor of Science.

Professor Aspect is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at CityU, a Member of the French Academy of Sciences and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in the UK and several other foreign academies.

Professor Aspect is known for his experiments illuminating the most intriguing properties of quantum mechanics. His Bell's inequalities tests with pairs of entangled photons in 1982 have helped to settle a debate between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr that started in 1935. He has also, with Professor Philippe Grangier, given a striking demonstration of wave-particle duality for a single photon, including the participation to an experimental realisation of the Wheeler's delayed choice experiment.

After his contribution to the development of laser cooling of atoms, with Professor Claude Cohen-Tannoudji from 1985 to 1992, he has switched to ultra-cold atoms physics, where the group he has established revisits with atoms landmarks of photonic quantum optics and develops quantum simulators of disordered materials using atomic Bose-Einstein Condensates.

He has received many awards, including the CNRS Gold Medal in 2005, the Wolf Prize in Physics in 2010, the Niels Bohr Gold Medal and the Albert Einstein Medal in 2012, the Ives Medal/Quinn Prize of the OSA in 2013, and the Balzan Prize in quantum information in 2014.

Mr Hu Shao Ming Herman, Chairman of Ryoden Development Limited, received an Honorary Doctor of Social Science. Mr Hu was appointed as a Justice of the Peace in 2000 and was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Star and Silver Bauhinia Star in 2011 and 2017, respectively.

Enthusiastic about sports, he was Chairman of the Major Sports Events Committee from 2003 to 2010 and served as a Member of Hong Kong Sports Commission from 2005 to 2014. A long-time friend of CityU, Mr Hu was a member of the CityU Council from 2004 to 2011 and was Council Chairman from 2012 to 2017.

Mr Hu has extensive experience in commercial and public service leadership. He is a Hong Kong Deputy to the 12th/13th National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China. He serves as Past President of the Hong Kong Professionals and Senior Executives Association, Vice-Chairman of The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Vice-President of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, Chairman of the HKTDC Infrastructure Development Advisory Committee, President of the Hong Kong Veterans’ Tennis Association, Honorary Life Vice-President of the Asian Tennis Federation, General Committee Member of the Employers’ Federation of Hong Kong, President of the Hong Kong Shanxi Chamber of Commerce, Board Member and Advisory Professor of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Honorary Court Member of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, among others.

Dr Lee Shau-kee, Chairman of Henderson Land Development Company Limited, received an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration.

Dr Lee is a prominent business leader and a well-known philanthropist. Together with some close friends, he established the Hong Kong Pei Hua Education Foundation in 1982. The Foundation adopts a visionary approach to enhancing human resources and providing educational and training opportunities in mainland China. So far it has sponsored and organised more than 670 programmes and trained more than 70,000 people in leadership positions.

Dr Lee has made generous donations over the years to many worthwhile projects including providing training to more than 1.23 million farmers and more than 10,000 village doctors in mainland China, financing over 1,500 university presidents in central and western regions of China to advance their management skills through exchanges with top universities around the world, and expanding campus facilities and establishing scholarship programmes in a number of schools and universities in mainland China, Hong Kong and overseas.

In addition, his donations provided disaster relief in Sichuan after the 2008 earthquake including rebuilding the medical complex of the People’s Hospital of Guangyuan City. The complex was completed and open for use in 2013. He donated significant sums to support Hong Kong residents not covered by the city’s existing social security scheme.

Dr Lee has received numerous honours and accolades including honorary doctorates and fellowships from local and overseas universities. In March 2008, he was bestowed various honours by the three top mainland universities, Fudan, Tsinghua and Peking, which is unprecedented. He has extensive experience in public service in mainland China and Hong Kong, and was made an Honorary Citizen by the Shunde Municipal People's Government and the Beijing Municipal People’s Government. He was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal by the Hong Kong government in 2007 in recognition of his significant contributions to society.

Professor Cédric Villani, the Fields Medal winner in 2010 and a professor at the Université Claude Bernard (Lyon) 1, received an Honorary Doctor of Science. Born in 1973 in France, Professor Villani studied mathematics at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and defended his PhD on the mathematical theory of the Boltzmann equation.

His main research interests are in kinetic theory (Boltzmann and Vlasov equations and their variants), and optimal transport and its applications, a field for which he wrote the reference books Topics in Optimal Transportation in 2003 and Optimal Transport, Old and New in 2008.

Professor Villani has received many national and international prizes for his research, in particular the Fields Medal in 2010 for his proofs of nonlinear Landau damping and convergence to equilibrium for the Boltzmann equation.

He is a Member of the French Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and was bestowed the Knight of the National Order of Merit and Knight of the Legion of Honour in 2009 and 2011, respectively. The latter is the highest French national honour for military and civil merits.

Professor Villani was the Director of the Institut Henri Poincaré from 2009 to 2017 and was elected to the National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament, during the 2017 legislative election.

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