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7 May 2010

Outstanding Students Award
President's Speech

Parents, colleagues, students, ladies and gentlemen:

Today, 65 of our best students are honored as Outstanding Students. This honor is a celebration of a successful partnership between you and your mentors who are here today. A student's successful academic career often tells the story of devotion and sacrifice by parents and dedication by their teachers. So, although this honor is individual, I know you don't mind sharing it with those who have helped shape and guide you.

Being an outstanding student is a great honor. This honor also comes with certain responsibilities, to yourself, your family and the community. An outstanding student is never someone who only has a narrow interest in himself or herself. "Outstanding" is a very generous praise. Being called "outstanding" means you are potentially a leader whose interest and attention are not provincial or parochial. I sometime hear the complaint that Hong Kong students are not terribly interested in other cultures or countries. I hope that is not true, because Hong Kong is a famous international city whose fate and future is affected by events beyond its borders. We cannot afford to be parochial or narrow. On our campus, you see the presence of foreign or non-Hong Kong students. I want you to reach out to those who are guests among us. This way, you will learn about different peoples and different countries and cultures. A university education is not about being self-absorbed and indifferent to other people. In the old days, even secondary students consider themselves "intellectuals" with a sense of social responsibility. Today, you need to add international awareness and orientation to your attributes. Otherwise, you cannot really call yourself a truly educated person, much less an "outstanding" person.

However, my main duty today is not to preach, but to help you celebrate your academic success. I was just hoping to see all of you grow into bigger and more inclusive persons---which is the hallmark of a university education.

Let me warmly congratulate you and your mentors. The Chinese have a saying: "Once a teacher, always a teacher" I know this mentor-mentee relationship will outlast your stay at HKUST. I therefore wish to end by thanking our devoted colleagues for all the good work they have done in guiding the students in their charge. Congratulations ! Now don't forget to give your teachers a generous serving of food as you savor the sweet taste of success.

Thank you.


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