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19 June 2016

HKUST 25th Anniversary Celebration Banquet
President's Speech

As I look around the room on this momentous occasion, I must admit to feeling an overwhelming emotion: tremendous joy to see so many members of the HKUST family gathered here; great pride in being able to thank all the university leaders present—including almost 50 presidents of top global universities; and deep gratitude to our dedicated community supporters who have come to celebrate our 25th Anniversary with us tonight.

HKUST now has 58,000 graduates engaged in a variety of fields worldwide and a long and distinguished list of research achievements. Just two straightforward pieces of data, it may appear. But packed within each lies the exhilarating story of the University’s unique rise—a journey in which many of you have played or are playing a part.

From a remote and empty site in 1991 with little to recommend it - save a glorious view - the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has grown in the span of a single generation to become one of the world’s leading universities: respected internationally; recognised nationally; cherished and prized at home.

To achieve the excellence that is the forerunner of such esteem, the University’s initiators, planners, and founding members strode toward a vision unrealized in Asia at that time. The dream was to create a research university committed to local and regional development and with global impact; an institution to usher in a better tomorrow for all.

It has not always been an easy road to travel. In the early days, the concept and its proponents were met with skepticism and doubt. But as with all great innovative endeavors that succeed, the capability to overcome challenges lies at the heart of HKUST’s “can do” spirit.

By combining science and engineering with business management, humanities and social science, HKUST graduates have been educated with the holistic insight to become leaders, entrepreneurs and creative solution-builders. Bringing together world-class faculty in a multidisciplinary environment with top research facilities has spurred significant breakthroughs and novel applications to bring about change. Thus we have moved ahead at unprecedented speed to global eminence and contribution.

We celebrate such vision and collective East-West dynamism tonight. There is, however, still much to do to build a sustainable, tolerant, and equitable world. Over the next 25 years, we look forward to traveling with partners near and far to bring these overly distant horizons closer. We will do so through science, technology, enterprise and humanitarian principles, and by Innovating Today, Imagining Tomorrow, as our anniversary slogan so aptly states. Indeed, if we work with the passion and pace shown in the past quarter century, I am more than optimistic that much will be done to brilliantly illuminate the way to that better tomorrow. Thank you very much again, and please have an enjoyable time on this very meaningful evening!


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