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Dr. WU Po-ko Michael

66th Congregation (2009)

Dr. WU Po-ko Michael
Doctor of Social Science


Hong Kong has seen significant developments in tertiary education in recent years, surpassing not only many cities, but also many countries.  Within this context, The Chinese University of Hong Kong has demonstrated impressive achievements during its short history of forty-five years.


Hong Kong is a city of a little more than a thousand square kilometers in area and with a population of some seven million.  Yet its amazing – some might even say astounding – success in tertiary education has justifiable reasons to be proud of.  Broadly speaking, such distinction may be attributed to three major factors: the efforts of academics and students, the support of the Government, and the contributions of benefactors from various quarters.  Using the theatre as an analogy, the hard work of the academics and the students, and the support of the Government, are the goings-on on stage, upon which the audience focuses its attention.  The donations of benefactors are backstage support, which usually happens outside the gaze of the spectators.  Be that as it may, the benevolent acts of the benefactors backstage are not any less important to the performance, and play a pivotal part in the development of higher education in Hong Kong.  The remarkable accomplishments of The Chinese University of Hong Kong owe themselves significantly to the benefactors who donate to the University over the years, and today we are honouring one of the most outstanding of these benefactors, Dr Wu Po-ko, Michael.


Dr Wu Po-ko, Michael is a distinguished philanthropist and entrepreneur in Hong Kong.  He joined Wing Lung Bank in 1978 and was appointed as an executive director within the same year.  In 1982 he was elected to the chair of the Bank's board, and held the Chairmanship and Executive Directorship until 2008.  Dr Wu is a graduate of Mount Allison University and the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario.  Dr Wu's career is studded with honours and accolades: in 1989 his alma mater, the University of New Brunswick, conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws upon him, and in 1997 he was appointed a Guest Research Professor by the Nanjing Branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  In 2005 his other alma mater in Canada, Mount Allison University, bestowed an honorary Doctor of Laws on him.  In 2008 Hong Kong Baptist University presented him with an honorary Doctor of Business Administration.  Currently he is a Fellow of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers, a member of the Board of Governors of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, and an honorary member of the Chinese Club.


Dr Wu is an enthusiastic participant in services for the community, and has held a good number of public offices both in Hong Kong and Canada.  He is a particularly keen supporter of educational enterprises.  He was the Treasurer of the Council and Court of Hong Kong Baptist University from 1993 to 2006, and he also sat on the Board of Governors of Lingnan College and later the Court of Lingnan University.  From 1998 to 2008, Dr Wu was a member of the Board of Inland Revenue of the Hong Kong Government.  Apart from these public services, he was also the Chairman of Wing Lung Bank Foundation Limited, and currently the Secretary of the Wu Yee Sun Charitable Foundation.


No appropriate mention of Wing Lung Bank can be made without acknowledging the late Dr Wu Yee-sun, the father of Dr Michael Wu and the founder of Wing Lung Bank.  Dr Wu Yee-sun was an elder statesman in Hong Kong banking who witnessed and took part in the spectacular development of the industry.  Wing Lung Bank opened on 25 February 1933 at Number 37, Bonham Strand East, Central, with a capital of HK$44,500.  Its initial businesses included money exchange, remittances, deposits, general banking between ports, trading in shares on behalf of clients, as well as dealership in gold and bonds issued in the Mainland.  The bank has since grown from strength to strength and its new headquarters building, which sits astride Des Voeux Road Central and Connaught Road Central, was completed in 1973.  Branches multiplied in subsequent years and, as at 31 December 2007, the assets of the bank totalled HK$93 billion – having appreciated by over two million times in a span of 74 years.  Through the dynamic growth of the bank we are shown, in the most convincing terms, the entrepreneurial spirit of Dr Wu Yee-sun and his family.  As the bank celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2008, the Wing Lung Bank network of branches grew to 42 and, with a staff exceeding 1,600 officers, continued to provide a full and comprehensive range of banking services.  Apart from being an outstanding entrepreneur and banker, Dr Wu Yee-sun made tremendous contributions to economic and financial development in Hong Kong.  He was also well known to the community as a benefactor of charities, and over the years he followed the precept that having obtained resources from the people, it is only appropriate to spend the resources on the people.  His contributions and concern for the welfare of the general public made him a most endeared name among philanthropic circles.


As the son of Dr Wu Yee-sun, Dr Michael Wu followed the benevolent steps of his father, perpetuating the older man's excellent work in promoting community welfare and contributing to the common good.  Over the years he has made generous donations to the educational sector for the nurture of youthful talent.  During his term of office as the Chairman of Wing Lung Bank Foundation Limited and Secretary of Wu Yee Sun Charitable Foundation, Dr Wu displayed a tireless and selfless dedication – rare even among philanthropists – to the cause of providing for educational organizations, social welfare institutions and hospitals, both in Hong Kong and the Mainland.  In 1995 the Wu Yee Sun Charitable Foundation generously donated towards the rebuilding of the Wu Zhongpei Memorial Hospital in Foshan City of the Shunde District.  The hospital, with the donation from the Wu Yee Sun Charitable Foundation, has become the only hospital with psychiatric medicine as its principal specialization in the Shunde District, and is now a teaching hospital in the provincial network of advance medical schools in Guangdong.


In 2006 Dr Michael Wu and his family established the Wu Yee-sun Scholarship in support of research, teaching and management activities in the Nanjing Branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  Such and many other initiatives make up the outstanding work that Dr Wu, the Wu family and their charitable trusts have undertaken for the improvement of the education opportunities and the general welfare of society, much to the admiration and praise of the community.


In addition to these acts of benevolence, Dr Michael Wu, Dr Wu Yee-sun and their families have, over the years, made munificent contributions in support of the development of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and other local institutions of tertiary education.  As early as 1973, the foundation for these efforts was laid by Dr Wu Yee-sun and his brothers who established the Wing Lung Bank Chinese Culture Development Fund at CUHK, through which many research and publication projects of the Institute of Chinese Studies came to be facilitated.  These included the Chinese-English academic journal on translation, Renditions, co-founded by the late Mr George Gao and Mr Stephen Soong.  Over the decades Renditions volumes have featured some of the most outstanding works in Chinese-English translation.  The translators have come from Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China and overseas, and included a wide range of eminent scholars and illustrious names.  The works published run the whole gamut of poetry, fiction, drama and prose, and the journal is now firmly planted as a major influence in the realms of translation and sinology.  At a time when cross-cultural research and cross-cultural activities were the order of the day in the international academic community, The Chinese University of Hong Kong had the foresight to inaugurate Renditions, with the financial support of the Wing Lung Bank Chinese Culture Development Fund, thus establishing itself as a pioneer in the promotion of Chinese culture.  The illustrious efforts of Dr Michael Wu, Dr Wu Yee-sun and the Wu family will certainly be remembered with the greatest respect and esteem by the translation and sinology communities, and the entire cultural community, for a very long time.


In the course of over thirty years, Dr Michael Wu and his family have provided incessant support to academic development at the Chinese University, and their contribution to research activities in the field of medicine has been particularly significant.  In 2007, the Wu Yee Sun Charitable Foundation, in fulfilment of the worthy ideals of Dr and Mrs Wu Yee-sun, donated handsomely to endow the foundation of Wu Yee Sun College at the Chinese University in an act of tremendous benevolence.


Mr Chairman, in recognition of his abiding interest and outstanding contribution to the development of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, I present Dr Wu Po-ko, Michael for the award of the degree of Doctor of Social Science, honoris causa.