68th Congregation (2010)
Dr. CHAN Lok-chung Gerald
“Tradition is a container for meaning in culture, a vehicle for its transmission. Respect for tradition does not equate to resistance to change nor obstruction to innovation. Rather, a grounding in tradition enhances a person’s clarity of who he is and gives him confidence to face the uncertainties in his future.” Who uttered this epigram? None other than Dr Gerald L Chan.
Dr Chan is an outstanding Hong Kong entrepreneur, educator and philanthropist, a civic leader and an exemplary public intellectual.
Dr Chan, whose ancestors hail from Shunde, Guangdong, was born in Hong Kong in 1951. His father, Chan Tseng-hsi, founded the Hang Lung Group. Dr Gerald Chan completed his primary and secondary school education in Hong Kong after which he went to America to study, initially at the University of California, Los Angeles where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in engineering before furthering his studies at Harvard University where he took a Master of Science and a doctorate in radiation biology. Dr Chan subsequently served as a researcher in pathology at Harvard Medical School where he was engaged in cancer research for a number of years. Ever mindful of science and scholarship, Dr Chan has worked tirelessly to promote biomedical research and technology. He is currently a guest researcher at the Peking University Institute of Molecular Medicine and acts as an academic adviser and committee member for various universities including the University of California, Los Angeles, Harvard University, and Fudan University in Shanghai.
With no less commitment to the world of business as to academia, Dr Chan is a rare individual who is equally facile in investments as in scientific research. He has served as a director of Hang Lung Group Limited since 1986, and along with his brother Dr Ronnie C Chan, co-founded the Morningside Group, an investment concern with a global footprint. With great foresight, Dr Chan was among the first generation of venture capitalists who invested in internet companies in China in the 1990s. In recent years he has been a vanguard in building biotechnology companies in China. Dr Chan has truly been a driving force behind the development of the technology sector of China. Dr Chan has also been an active investor in biotechnology companies in America and in the UK. He has sat on the boards of many venture-backed start-up companies. Through his guidance to these biotechnology companies, he has made significant contributions to the development of new therapeutics, new diagnostics, new vaccines and new medical devices.
In 1996, the Chan brothers set up the Morningside Foundation Limited with Dr Gerald Chan serving as a director. The Foundation actively supports education and research. In Mainland China, the Foundation helped to establish the Yale-China Association teaching program in the Huangshan region of Anhui province, thus availing the rural students of the benefit of teaching by Yale University graduates. The Foundation sponsors two summer schools each year at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Institute of Zoology and the National Institute of Biological Sciences in Beijing with the aim of encouraging undergraduate students to pursue doctoral studies and a career in scientific research. In 1996, the Foundation established the Chinese Academy of Sciences-Morningside Center of Mathematics in Beijing and since 1998, has sponsored the triennial International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians. In 1996, the Foundation launched the Morningside Music Bridge program to identify and nurture talented young classical musicians from China and to promote cultural exchange with the rest of the world. Over the years, the Foundation has sponsored scholarships for needy students and supported research at various universities both in China and abroad including Harvard University, University of Southern California, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Hong Kong, Peking University, and Tsinghua University. The Foundation has also supported the preservation and restoration of historical architectural relics in China. From their sponsorship of scientific research and learning to assisting education in rural China, to the preservation of heritage sites, the philanthropic endeavors of the Chan brothers and of the Morningside Foundation transcend national boundaries, bringing benefits to China and to the whole world. Their magnanimity is laudable.
In 2004, Dr Gerald Chan and his brother Dr Ronnie C Chan established the Morningside Education Foundation Limited which supports education in Hong Kong. The Foundation has made important contributions to higher education locally. In 2006, the Foundation generously donated a large sum of money to The Chinese University of Hong Kong to establish Morningside College, a new college that is designed for 300 undergraduate students. With its motto of “Scholarship, Virtue, Service,” Morningside College encourages young people to endeavor in a life-long pursuit of scholarship, to have broad horizons that encompass the whole world, to be persons of high ethical standards, to have lofty ideals, to be enterprising, to participate enthusiastically in public affairs, and to serve their communities with knowledge, zeal and sincerity. As a Christian, Dr Gerald Chan is himself an example of the spirit expressed in the motto “to serve, and not to be served.” This golden rule of Christianity also informs the educational philosophy of Morningside College. The Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, Distinguished Professor-at-Large at CUHK, Professor Sir James Mirrlees has been appointed as the founding master of Morningside College. Its first cohort of students was admitted in the autumn of 2010. Through a fully residential college format, the Morningside College is to cultivate in its students a commitment to scholarship, virtue, and service.
Dr Chan served as a member of the CUHK Council from 2004 to 2007, and since 2004 has been a member of the Advisory Committee of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, CUHK. He has served as a member of the Planning Committee for Morningside College since 2006, and is currently a member of the Committee of Overseers of Morningside College. He has made a great contribution to education and to college development at CUHK.
Dr Chan is a person with a global outlook even as he has China in his heart, he cares deeply about scholarship, education and culture, and has a staunch commitment to moral values. In the training of young students, he has a strong sense of mission, tremendous foresight and unwavering ideals. Dr Chan exemplifies to the younger generations a life of learning, of integrity and of service to society.
Mr Chairman, as a tribute to his achievements in scientific research and in education, to the contributions he has made to Chinese culture and to the society of Hong Kong, and to his outstanding contribution in establishing Morningside College at CUHK, may I present Dr Gerald L Chan for the award of the degree of Doctor of Social Science, honoris causa.
This is the translated version of the citation written by Professor Leung Yuen Sang