I left off some six weeks ago with a brief report on my meeting with the alumni leaders in Vancouver. Since then, Deputy Chairman Dr. Patrick Poon had a similar meeting in New Zealand and I am looking forward to meeting our USA alumni leaders in Chicago next month. We hope such meetings would help the Convocation understand more the aspirations of our members overseas in relation to our alma mater.
In the meantime, and not unexpectedly, the media continues to report and dwell on news around the University, including but not restricted to the siege of Council Members after the first Council Meeting chaired by Professor Arthur Li, the call of some students to boycott classes, the press conference called by Professor Li afterwards, the second Council Meeting held off campus, and not to leave out the apparent involvement of some students in the Chinese New Year Day riot. We certainly are living in exciting times.
Increasingly, Hong Kong people have linked our University with topical issues of Hong Kong. This is to be expected, if we pride our University as the University of Hong Kong. It follows that we can no longer dissociate our University and for that matter ourselves from politics which by definition is about the concerns of the people. The question is how the University as an institution seeking to promote and achieve academic excellence can continue to focus on its priorities, including teaching and learning, research, diversification and internationalization, amidst such noises and politics. It won’t be easy; and we have plenty around who would like to see us fail, except that we won’t.
One of the reasons why the University won’t fail is that it has continued to enjoy strong and unfailing support from its alumni bodies and alumni. Our alumni are everywhere. More importantly, many of them hold institutional positions that will form or shape policies and opinions, locally and overseas. Wherever one goes, one sees HKU alumni ready and willing to rally support for their alma mater. All of them, without exception, want to see a stronger HKU.
But there will always be noises around. Indeed such noises often go out of proportion and are calculated to mislead and drown the truth. As informed and concerned alumni, we need to have faith in what the University is trying to do on the one hand, and we need to have the facts on the other. More relevantly, we can be eyes and ears for the University and help channel feedback that would enable the University management team to fine tune their policies.
Our University President and Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Mathieson has developed a strategy plan entitled Vision 2025 to take the University to greater heights and specifically to make HKU Asian’s global university. The strategy has already been endorsed by the Court and the Council and is going through various stakeholders with a view to forging a cohesive and realistic road map for the next decade. At the request of the Convocation, Professor Mathieson will speak at a Convocation Forum during which he will discuss Vision 2025 and take questions from members. The date is 7 May 2016 which is a Saturday. Please mark off the morning to come to the forum and to see how you can become part of the strategy to shape HKU’s next ten years.
Meanwhile, and also at the request of the Convocation, Council Chairman Professor Arthur Li has also agreed to speak to Convocation members later in the year. I urge you to watch this column for the date of the event – we would try to give as much advanced notice as possible – and make time to listen to the man who has said he would offer his all for the good of the University.