HKUST Holds 31st Congregation Conferring Honorary Doctoral Degrees on Six Distinguished Leaders

HONG KONG, Nov. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) commenced its 31st Congregation today (17 November) with a momentous rendition of the University anthem for the first time.  The event witnessed the conferral of Honorary Doctorates upon six prominent academics and community leaders by HKUST Pro-Chancellor Dr. John CHAN Cho-Chak, in acknowledgment of their remarkable accomplishments and impactful contributions.   Also joining the ceremony as officiants were HKUST Council Chairman Prof. Harry SHUM, HKUST President Prof. Nancy IP and other members of the senior management team.  This year’s recipients of the Honorary Doctorate, listed in alphabetical order of surnames, were:

  • Prof. Yann LECUN, Chief AI Scientist at Meta – Doctor of Engineering honoris causa
  • Prof. Virginia LEE Man-Yee, Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine – Doctor of Science honoris causa
  • The Hon Andrew LIAO Cheung-sing, GBM, GBS, SC, JP, Senior Counsel and HKUST Court Chairman – Doctor of Laws honoris causa
  • Mr. Carlson TONG, GBS, JP, Independent Non-Executive Director of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited – Doctor of Business Administration honoris causa
  • Prof. Eric WIESCHAUS, Nobel Laureate and Professor Emeritus of Molecular Biology at Princeton University – Doctor of Science honoris causa
  • Tan Sri Dato‘ Seri Michelle YEOH Choo-Kheng, the Oscar-winning actress – Doctor of Humanities honoris causa 

HKUST Council Chairman Prof. Shum commended the six Honorary Doctorate awardees for their exceptional achievements, substantial contributions to society, and unwavering support to the University. “Truly extraordinary individuals, our six Honorary Doctorates are more than just high achievers in their specialist fields, they are game-changers who have already made an immeasurable impact on the world.   Motivated by an unyielding commitment to push beyond achievable boundaries, they are role models who perfectly encapsulate the core values of HKUST, shaping the foundation for the generations to come,” he said. 

In her address to the congregation, HKUST President Prof. Ip commended the graduates for their resilience and dedication in pursuing their studies amidst the challenges posed by the pandemic.  She advised them to carry forward this spirit as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.  “HKUST has provided you with a world-class education and nurtured values such as integrity, compassion, and a commitment to excellence.  You represent the very essence of 1-HKUST, and the innovative can-do spirit that defines our University.  So, go forth with confidence and aspire to make a meaningful difference around you.  Embrace challenges you encounter as opportunities for you to become change-makers, innovators, and leaders.  Channel your talents, your creativity, and your voice to generate actions and innovative solutions. As graduates of HKUST, you carry a legacy of excellence. Carry this pride with you, wherever you go.” she said. (Full President’s Address and video)

At the ceremony, Prof. Ip also presented the Michael G. Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching – HKUST’s highest accolade in teaching, to Prof. CHAN Mansun of the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering in recognition of his outstanding service in education. 

The 31st Congregation conferred 2,472 bachelor’s degrees, 3,394 master’s degrees, and 354 doctoral degrees, expanding the HKUST alumni community to over 99,000 members.

Biography of Honorary Doctorate awardees (arranged in alphabetical order of surnames): 

Prof. Yann LECUN

Prof. LeCun is an AI visionary whose many remarkable contributions to the development of convolutional neural networks have revolutionized computers’ ability to comprehend our world. A winner of the coveted Turing Award, his work has provided scientists with powerful new tools for fields spanning medicine, astronomy, and materials science. Serving on the Advisory Board of the HKUST Center for Artificial Intelligence Research, his forward-thinking ideas perfectly match the University’s trailblazing initiatives in integrating AI into education and promoting the technology’s ethical use across various sectors. (Full citation and speech video)

Prof. Virginia LEE Man-Yee

A world-renowned biochemist and neuroscientist, Prof. Lee’s game-changing research into Alzheimer’s disease significantly accelerated the discovery of vital new biomarkers and drug targets for the condition. Ranked by among the world’s top 100 scientists and second-ranking female, Prof. Lee has also been awarded the prestigious Breakthrough Prize. Proud of her Hong Kong roots, she has been generously sharing her expertise with HKUST neuroscientists for over two decades and contributed to the launch of the city’s first human genetics and biomarker study of Alzheimer’s. (Full citation and speech video)

The Hon Andrew LIAO Cheung-sing, GBM, GBS, SC, JP

Mr. Liao’s distinguished public service contributions include helping to establish Hong Kong as a regional Intellectual Property trading center by enacting the city’s first substantive copyright law. As HKUST Council Chairman for eight years, he also instituted a groundbreaking governance framework that measurably accelerated the University’s strategic development and institutional public accountability. His enthusiastic support was equally integral in the opening of both the award-winning Shaw Auditorium and the new HKUST(GZ) campus. He now serves as Chairman of the HKUST Court, the University’s supreme advisory body. (Full citation and speech video)

Mr. Carlson TONG, GBS, JP

Formerly Chairman of Securities and Futures Commission and KPMG Asia Pacific, Mr. Tong is amongst Hong Kong’s most highly regarded accounting professionals and public servants. His role in the first listing of a mainland Chinese company on the local Stock Exchange helped to cement Hong Kong’s status as a “super-connector” between the Mainland and the world. Post-retirement, Mr. Tong has been a dedicated public servant in the financial, education and sports sectors, making many invaluable contributions to local universities including HKUST while serving as Chairman of the University Grants Committee. (Full citation and speech video)


The 1995 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Prof. Wieschaus is an internationally pre-eminent authority on the genetic control of embryonic development. His pioneering research into genetic mutations in fruit flies, whose genetic structure is similar to that of humans, has significantly added to medical professionals’ understanding of the causes of – and possible treatments for – birth defects and cancers. Having taught at Princeton University for over 40 years, his unwavering passion for experimentation has left an indelible mark on countless students from around the world. (Full citation and speech video)

Tan Sri Dato‘ Seri Michelle YEOH Choo-Kheng

The first Asian to win the coveted Academy Award for Best Actress, Ms. Yeoh’s rejection of stereotypically Asian roles has broken down barriers and made her an inspiration for many. As a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program, her can-do spirit and tireless promotion of UN Sustainable Development Goals and inclusiveness echo HKUST’s core values. Ms. Yeoh continues to give back to Hong Kong by supporting various charity organizations and enthusiastically raising the global profile of the city’s film industry. (Full citation and speech video)

Download photos of the ceremony here:

Source : HKUST Holds 31st Congregation Conferring Honorary Doctoral Degrees on Six Distinguished Leaders

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