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Donor's Reception of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

John Chan, Paul Chu, Donors and Friends,

It is my honour and privilege tonight to attend the Donor's Reception of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and to say few words.

The first word I want to say tonight is - Congratulations! A big congratulations to all of you on your wonderful achievements and indeed great success in fundraising in general and in respect of the Matching Grant Schemes. In the second round of the matching grant scheme, HKUST secured some $456 million in donations and hence received from UGC $243 million. This really is a tribute to all in this room.

How have you, collectively, managed such success?

One reason is the efforts of John and Paul and your dedicated team in championing fund raising. Paul, coming from the States, I am sure you know how important being a fund raiser is to promoting and developing a university. The fund raising has also been very well planned and coordinated with the university's 15-year Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan, itself full of foresight and determination to develop the University into a world academic leader, provides a strong basis for encouraging donations.

The second reason, aside of the honourable major donors and benefactors, is the large number of donors from amongst the alumni and students. These people are the ones that the University has already cultivated and given a fine education to. They will repay this by loyalty in the long term, if you can enfold them in the university family.

I am particularly delighted to see donors responding to the matching grant schemes with such generous support. It is both a relief as well as an encouragement for me. The matching grant scheme is a new initiative, and its success was not certain when the UGC and Government introduced it some 3 years ago, after the SARS torture back in July 2003.

But I had the confidence at the outset that the scheme would work. I have a strong belief on the philanthropic culture of Hong Kong. It was just a matter of time and effort on when and how that culture would be perceived by donors and the general public as relevant to the higher education sector. It does take time. But I must say, we have seen a huge shift in perceptions in those 3 years.

Public funding alone cannot be expected to allow higher education in Hong Kong to excel and compete at the international level. Private donations are an essential supplement and the matching grant scheme has been the catalyst.

I have been wondering whether to single out particular individuals for their special contribution. However, all who have given have made a special contribution, so perhaps that would be invidious. But I would like to pay tribute to Henry Fok and his family. Their outstanding donation will give a major fillip to the University to take forward its Strategic Plan 2005-2020 and to establish the Education and Research Institute in Nansha of China.

So, once again, I am happy to share your joy. I hope you will all continue to give something back to Hong Kong - a place that I am proud to call my home. Oh, and keep your cheque books handy: I am hopeful of a third matching grant scheme soon!

UGC Secretariat