The honorary degree recipients this year include (in alphabetical order of last name): Dr Christopher Cheng Wai-chee, GBS, OBE, JP, Chairman of Wing Tai Properties Limited; Professor Leon O. Chua, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences of University of California, Berkeley; Dr Irwin Mark Jacobs; Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm Incorporated; Professor Yan Junqi, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and Director of China Institute of Education Policy; and Professor Andrew Yao Chi-chih, renowned computer scientist and educator of pre-eminent international standing.
Dr Christopher Cheng Wai-chee, GBS, OBE, JP, is known for both his business success and achievements in the public sphere. He is Chairman of Wing Tai Properties Limited. After receiving his BBA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Columbia University in the US, he worked in Wing Tai Corporation, the company founded by his father and expanded it vastly. He established the company's own brands and succeeded in marketing and distributing them nationwide in the US in early 1980s. Later he extended his interest to luxury property development under the flagship of Wing Tai Properties Limited listed in Hong Kong since 1991. Dr Cheng's contribution to the development of Hong Kong and the textile and clothing industry is evident from his vast array of public services. He was the Chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Vice-President of the Chinese Manufacturers Association of Hong Kong, President of the Federation of Hong Kong Garment Manufacturers, and the founding Chairman of the Hong Kong Design Innovation Company, to name a few. His tremendous contribution to the tertiary education sector is also widely recognized. Apart from playing advisory roles in many overseas institutions, he is a Council member of the University of Hong Kong and was conferred the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences by the university in 2011. He is also an honorary member of the Court of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. PolyU is grateful to Dr. Cheng for his invaluable global perspectives and strategic advice to the PolyU International Advisory Board, on which he served since 2010. He will be conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration.
Professor Leon O. Chua is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences of University of California, Berkeley. He spearheaded the development of electrical circuit theory conducive to the computer-aided design (CAD) software and is widely regarded as the "father of nonlinear circuit theory and CNN". His invention of the memristor has been hailed as the holy grail for building low-power ultra-fast super computers and intelligent brain-like machines. The family of electronic chaotic circuits invented by him, generally referred to as "Chua's circuit family" has become standard textbook material in engineering curricula. With a Master of Science degree from MIT and a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Professor Chua joined Purdue University in 1964 and the University of California, Berkeley, in 1971. He has authored over 500 papers and 15 books, and also been awarded 7 US patents and 14 honorary doctorates. Professor Chua has received a number of major international honours including the first IEEE Gustav Kirchhoff Award for his outstanding contributions to the fundamentals of any aspect of electronic circuits and systems, and the Guggenheim Fellowship which was instituted as tribute to persons with exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. He will be conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science.
Dr Irwin Mark Jacobs is Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm Incorporated. He received a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University in 1956, and Master of Science and Doctor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1957 and 1959. After 13 years as Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California, San Diego, he founded Linkabit Corporation in 1969 and Qualcomm, world-renowned for its contributions to the cell phone industry, in 1985. As CEO of Qualcomm, Dr Jacobs oversaw revolutionary innovations in CDMA, the dominant cell-phone technology that powers all 3G cellular networks. Qualcomm continues to expand its reach into 4G and by developing increasingly powerful SoC (system on chip) integrated circuits encompassing computing, graphics, GPS, still and video photography, and a range of communication capabilities. Dr Jacobs will be remembered not only for CDMA and Qualcomm but also as one of the new generation of philanthropic giants whose contributions extend well beyond the realm of technology. He will be conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering.
Professor Yan Junqi is Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and Director of China Institute of Education Policy. Professor Yan received a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Shanghai Jiao tong University School of Mechanical Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Maritime Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark. She is an expert in the areas of Computer Integrated Manufacturing System and virtual manufacturing theory and technology research and has been dedicated to advancing technological development in the Chinese Mainland. She was selected as member of the expert committee for the 863 Programme, the National High-tech R&D Programme implemented in March 1986, striving to promote a series of key high-technology projects. Her outstanding achievements have won her many awards, including the Shanghai Subject Chief Scientist, the "863 Outstanding Contribution Award" by the National Ministry of Science and Technology and a number of National Science and Technology Progress Awards. Under Professor Yan's support and guidance, PolyU and The China Institute of Education Policy jointly organized the "First Summit on University Social Responsibility" in 2012 to promote the exchange of views among participants on university social responsibility in an era of globalization. In the same year, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between PolyU and the Shanghai Technology Entrepreneurship Foundation for Graduates to establish a PolyU chapter, making PolyU the first local higher education institution to launch a chapter and entrepreneurship fund with EFG, thereby encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of PolyU graduates. She will be conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Social Sciences.
Professor Andrew Yao Chi-chih is a computer scientist, computational theorist and educator of pre-eminent international standing. He has also made landmark contributions to the modern theory of cryptography through his theory of pseudorandom number generation. Professor Yao received the George Polya Prize in 1987 and Donald E. Knuth Prize in 1996. In 2000, Professor Yao received A.M. Turing Award, which is widely considered the Nobel Prize for computer science, by the US-based Association for Computing Machinery. Professor Yao received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from National Taiwan University, a PhD in physics from Harvard University and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he worked at MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley before becoming William and Edna Macaleer Professor of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University in 1986. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Academia Sinica in Taiwan. He was elected in China as "Capital Top Ten Education Newsmakers of 2009". Professor Yao offers his staunch support to PolyU's Department of Computing and generous help in strengthening relations between the international and local academic communities. He will be conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science.