HKU inauguration ceremony to welcome new students
24 Aug 2011
The University of Hong Kong (HKU) today (August 24) welcomed its news students to the HKU family at the annual Inauguration Ceremony.
The ceremony was officiated by Professor Lap-Chee Tsui, Vice-Chancellor of HKU. Professor Rosie Young, HKU Emeritus Professor, was the Guest of Honour.
The University has admitted about 3,100 new undergraduate students in various programmes this academic year.
Professor Tsui welcomed the new students in his inauguration address. He introduced HKU as a place having a free, open and diverse learning environment. "This is what HKU faculty and students have always enjoyed and reassured. And, as new members of the University, you have the privilege to learn in this environment. We count on you to contribute to this community of learning with your passion, intelligence and dedication."
Professor Tsui also urged new students to get prepared. "Controversies are not unusual at HKU. Protests, forums and debates, are frequent parts of student life here. And we are proud that our students, like students in many parts of the world, can be a noise bunch."
"Earlier this year, at the kick-off ceremony for the Centenary Celebrations, we declared that HKU today is for HK, for China and for the World. The university embodies the values that all of us cherish in Hong Kong - freedom, liberty, and diversity. We must continue to contribute to the welfare of the people of Hong Kong. We must also remain ever vigilant in safeguarding the autonomy of the University, our academic freedom, and, our right to free express, on and off campus," said Professor Tsui.
Professor Rosie Young, the Guest of Honour and an Emeritus Professor of HKU, shared with fellow students her experiences as a student in HKU several decades ago. "We must always have an enquiring spirit and the intellectual curiosity to entertain doubt and search for the truth. We should not always take what the books say or the teachers tell us as gospel. It also reminds us of the importance of life-long learning."
Professor Young also encouraged students to take full advantage of the opportunities available during their stay in the university. These opportunities, such as extracurricular activities, participation in student societies, exchange experiences, are an inseparable part of university life. These opportunities will expose students to the world outside academia and is an integral part of the process of growing up.
Mr James Li, President of the Hong Kong University Students' Union urged students not to fear for facing failures. "Fear for failures is not a common characteristic of HKU students, for we are here to learn. We might reach high or we might fall hard, but at the end of the day, we would pick ourselves up, heads high, try again and improve to succeed."
In response to the controversy caused by the Centenary Ceremony event, Mr Li took the opportunity to reassert the importance of the University and its student bodies to uphold and live out the values of democracy, liberty and high autonomy within the university.
"HKU has always been and should always be a free and open place and forum for intellectual exchanges, sharing and accepting different views and opinions, appreciating the flourish of important freedoms of speech and press as well as upholding academic freedom. As pillars of tomorrow, we could not accept such valuable freedoms and autonomy be undermined in any possible way."
"In face of such crisis and losing our freedom and rights, HKUSU, shall, as our motto reiterates, unite ourselves against all external forces and fight for our autonomy no matter what it costs," he added.
Other procession members were Deputy Vice-Chancellor-Designate Professor Roland Chin, Pro-Vice-Chancellors Professor Paul Tam, Professor Chow Shew-Ping, Professor Amy Tsui, Deans, Acting Deans and Assistant Dean of all ten faculties, Associate Dean of Graduate School, Dean of Student Affairs Dr Albert Chau, Registrar Mr Henry Wai, Librarian Mr Peter E. Sidorko, Chairman of Convocation Mr Choi Sau Yuk, President of the HKU Graduate Association Mr Victor Ng, and President of University of Hong Kong Alumni Association Mr Tse Sik Yan.
For the speech of Professor Lap-Chee Tsui, please visit: http://www.cpao.hku.hk/media/110824_VC_eng.pdf
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