At the Honorary Doctorate Conferment Ceremony today (9 December), Lingnan University (LU) conferred honorary doctoral degrees upon four distinguished individuals in recognition of outstanding achievements in their respective professions and valuable contributions to the well-being of society. They were Mr Norman Chan Tak-lam（陳德霖）, a prominent financial leader who received a Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa; Ms Sylvia Chang Ai-chia （張艾嘉）, an esteemed film director who received a Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa; Prof Deane E. Neubauer, a prolific political science scholar who received a Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa (in absentia); and Prof Zhong Nanshan（鍾南山）, a world-renowned respiratory disease expert who received a Doctor of Science, honoris causa (in absentia).
Mr Norman Chan expressed his gratitude to the University on behalf of all Honorary Doctorates. He commended the great contributions to society that Lingnan and other universities are making and encouraged them to expand and promote courses or programmes on critical thinking for students. “I cannot think of any other period in which universities have played a more crucial role in helping to develop critical thinking in students,” he said. “Many social media platforms will feed you with videos that you want to see and messages you want to hear…. Biases can easily be solidified and amplified amongst so-called ‘like-minded’ groups. This echo chamber phenomenon and its divisive and damaging effects on the society were vividly demonstrated during the highly turbulent period in Hong Kong in the second half of 2019, a problem which has, to a large extent, continued up till now.”
He suggested people to make a habit to fact check, and apply critical thinking. “Fact checking is time-consuming and tiresome, but it is something that can be done by anyone who chooses. At the same time, critical thinking is a mindset rather than rocket science, there are certain skills and techniques that can be taught to help a person to apply their mind and be conducive to critical thinking,” added Mr Chan.
Biographies of the Honorary Doctorate recipients:
Mr Norman Chan Tak-lam, GBS, JP
Mr Norman Chan Tak-lam is currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Chung Chi College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) as well as an Honorary Professor of its Business School.
A Sociology major of CUHK, Mr Chan joined the Administrative Service of the Hong Kong Government after graduation. In 1991 he was appointed Deputy Director of Monetary Management at the Office of the Exchange Fund. In 1993, he was instrumental in creating the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), and was promoted to Deputy Chief Executive in 1996. In 1997 to 1998, the Asian Financial Crisis hit Hong Kong, but with Mr Chan at the helm, the HKMA took brave, timely and decisive actions to counter the ferocious systemic shocks and threats, and ultimately safeguarded the stability of Hong Kong currency and financial markets.
Mr Chan left the HKMA for about four years and rejoined in 2009 to serve as Chief Executive until his retirement in 2019. During his 10-year term, he reinforced the financial system and enhanced Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s premier banking and financial centre.
In recognition of his contributions to society, Mr Chan was awarded the Silver Bauhinia Star in 1999 and the Gold Bauhinia Star in 2012. He received an honorary doctoral degree from City University of Hong Kong, and an honorary fellowship from CUHK.
Ms Sylvia Chang Ai-chia
Ms Sylvia Chang Ai-chia is one of the most versatile, prolific and creative performing artists in the Chinese-speaking world. She was born in Taiwan, and at 17 she went into television and then the film industry, becoming one of the few performing arts stars in both Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Since the 1970s, Ms Chang has made a lot of best-selling music albums, appeared in over 100 films and a number of television and stage dramas, and won many awards. She has finished her first script in 1972 and made her film directing debut in 1981, and has now directed 16 films and written over 20 scripts. Her passion in creativity and performing arts, and courage to venture have brought her a unique successful path.
Ms Chang makes significant contributions to charity in Hong Kong and throughout the world. She has been working with the World Vision, and has visited to South Asia, the Middle East and Central and South America, to support people in need. She believes that everyone is responsible for taking care of others, and she sees films as a way for her to share her care, which is how warmth and mutual respect have become her specific creative style.
Prof Deane E. Neubauer
Prof Deane E. Neubauer is currently an Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa in the US, where he served since 1970 until 2004. Since the 1980s, he has served on Higher Education Accreditation teams predominantly in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, to promote quality education. Over the years, he has served on 235 dissertation committees, some of them in public health and the physical sciences.
Prof Neubauer also worked with the East-West Center, a US-based institution for public diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region, from 2006 to 2020, where he assisted in founding the Asia Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership (APHERP), an inter-university research partnership involving 15 universities. APHERP is presently hosted at LU. His contribution has positioned LU as a leading hub for higher education research and learning.
Prof Neubauer has demonstrated outstanding academic achievements and notable contributions in global higher education, who has so far received about 30 prominent awards, honours, and grants, including excellence in teaching awards, distinguished awards for service to the community and several US Congress-backed grants to establish research platforms such as the Globalisation Research Centre.
Prof Zhong Nanshan
Prof Zhong Nanshan is Professor of Medicine at the Guangzhou Medical University, Director of the State Clinical Research Centre of Respiratory Disease, a member of the WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Preparedness and Response, an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a recipient of the Order of the Republic.
Prof Zhong is well known for his contribution to the country during epidemics. Whenever people’s health and lives have been at risk during epidemics, Prof Zhong has stood up to steer the efforts to control the spread and contain the number of cases, typical examples were SARS in 2003 and COVID-19 in 2019.
Prof Zhong has devoted significant effort to medicine, technology and education. He has published more than 50 papers in international academic journals, and over 200 in national journals, as well as writing 16 books. He has also taken out nine patents and has received more than 20 science and technology awards, including the second and third classes award of the State Science and Technology Progress Award, and the Science and Technology Progress Award of the Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation. He was conferred honorary doctoral degrees by The University of Edinburgh, the University of Birmingham, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Please refer to the following links for the citations and address of the Honorary Doctorates:
- Citation of Mr Norman Chan Tak-lam, GBS, JP
- Citation of Ms Sylvia Chang Ai-chia
- Citation of Prof Deane E. Neubauer
- Citation of Prof Zhong Nanshan
- Address by Mr Norman Chan Tak-lam, GBS, SBS, JP on behalf of the Honorary Doctorates