2013.09.23PolyU to honour five distinguished personalities at 19th Congregation

Professor Mildred S. DresselhausDr Edwin Leong Siu-hung Professor Pai Hsien-yung Mr Patrick Poon Sun-cheongMs Güler Sabanci

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) will confer Honorary Doctorates upon five prominent figures in recognition of their distinguished accomplishments and contributions at its 19th Congregation to be held on 27 October 2013 (Sunday).

This year's honorary degree recipients include (in alphabetical order of last name): Professor Mildred S. Dresselhaus, Emerita Institute Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Dr Edwin Leong Siu-hung, Executive Chairman and Founder of Tai Hung Fai Enterprise Company Limited; Professor Pai Hsien-yung, renowned contemporary writer and a staunch advocate of Kunqu; Mr Patrick Poon Sun-cheong, Chairman of Harvest SCP Group Company Limited; and Ms Güler Sabanci, Chairman and Managing Director of Turkey-based Sabanci Holding and Founding President of Sabanci University.

Known as "The Queen of Carbon" by her peers, Professor Mildred S. Dresselhaus is Emerita Institute Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering at MIT. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1958 and joined MIT in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1967 and the Department of Physics in 1983. Since then, she has remained on the MIT faculty, pursuing an impactful research and teaching career in the area of electronic materials. She is particularly noted for her work on graphite, fullerenes, carbon nanotubes and low dimensional thermoelectricity. Her researches into superconductivity, the electronic properties of carbon, thermoelectricity and the new physics on the nanoscale have laid the foundations for numerous scientific discoveries. In recognition of her distinguished accomplishments, she has received a string of awards – most notably the U.S. National Medal of Science, Enrico Fermi Award and Kavli Prize for Nanoscience. She has also played an active role in leading scientific societies such as American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society and American Institute of Physics Governing Board. Her commitment to promoting opportunities for women in science and engineering is also internationally recognized. She will be conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science.

Dr Edwin Leong Siu-hung, Executive Chairman and Founder of Tai Hung Fai Enterprise Company Limited, is a successful entrepreneur and a philanthropist. With his distinct business acumen and able leadership, Dr Leong has built up a prosperous business and been named the "King of Retail Shops" by the media in view of his many impressive retail property deals. Following in the footsteps of his late father Mr Henry G. Leong, Dr Leong is deeply committed to serving the community and the elderly in particular. He supported the establishment of PolyU-Henry G. Leong Mobile Integrative Health Centre, providing free health checks and monitoring for needy elderly. More recently, Dr Leong has made a substantial donation through the Tai Hung Fai Charity Foundation to establish the Henry G. Leong Endowed Professorship in Elderly Vision Health, hoping to develop new insights and models of services for the elderly. As a tribute to his commitment and unfailing support to the community and the higher education sector, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Social Sciences by The Hong Kong Institute of Education in 2012 and University Fellowship by The University of Hong Kong, PolyU and The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2010, 2012 and 2013 respectively. He will be conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration.

Professor Pai Hsien-yung is a world-renowned contemporary novelist, critic, playwright and an essayist whose literary creations have earned him great critical acclaim. His published works have been translated into different languages and adapted for the stage, television and the cinema. After earning his Master's degree at the University of Iowa in 1965, he became a Professor of Chinese Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has resided in Santa Barbara ever since. In 1994, Professor Pai took early retirement from the University of California to devote himself completely to restoring and promoting Kunqu, a traditional form of Chinese opera. The Young Lovers' Edition of the Peony Pavilion, adapted from the classic and newly created with modernist techniques by Professor Pai, has been staged more than 200 times in Taiwan, the Chinese mainland, the U.S. and Europe. In March 2012, at the invitation of PolyU, Professor Pai delivered two talks on The Beauty of Kunqu Opera and Love in Kunqu Opera, accompanied by performance of national first-class Kunqu singers. The lectures were also part of PolyU's 75th Anniversary celebration activities and drew full houses of audience. He will be conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters.

Mr Patrick Poon Sun-cheong, Chairman of Harvest SCP Group Company Limited, is a well-respected veteran who has 40 years of experience in the insurance industry. A science graduate of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) in 1970, Mr Poon was the first Hong Kong born citizen to obtain full actuarial professional qualifications from the Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in the United Kingdom in 1975. He embarked on a career in life insurance in 1972 when he joined American International Assurance (AIA) as an actuarial trainee. Over the years, he has moved up the career ladder and subsequently became CEO in Aetna International, ING Insurance Greater China Region and China Pacific Life Insurance Company before retiring in 2010. He is currently an Independent Non-Executive Director of Hang Seng Insurance Company Limited. Mr Poon is an ardent supporter of education and PolyU is one of the tertiary institutions which has benefited from his wise counsel and generosity. He has been serving as Treasurer of PolyU since 2008 and took up the Chairmanship of the University's Finance Committee and Fund-raising Committee. He has also taken the lead to support PolyU's newly launched Endowed Professorship Scheme by establishing a professorship in Applied Chemistry under his name. In 2011, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by his alma mater HKU for his outstanding accomplishments and contribution to society. He will be conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws.

Ms Güler Sabanci is Chairman and Managing Director of Sabanci Holding, one of the leading and most reputable business groups in Turkey and operating in areas such as energy, financial services, cement and retail with approximately 60,000 employees. She is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Sabanci Foundation, which is the most reputable private foundation supporting the social development of Turkey through various programmes since it was founded in 1974. Sabanci Foundation aims to enable social inclusion by promoting an equitable environment in which women, youth and persons with disabilities have access and equal opportunities to actively participate in society. She is also the Founding President of Sabanci University and has been presiding over its Board of Trustees since 1996. She also acts as Chairman of the Sakıp Sabanci Museum. She was the first female member of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association, and the first and only member of European Round Table of Industrialists. Ms Güler Sabanci also sits on the Siemens AG Supervisory Board, United Nations Global Compact Board, International Business Council of WEF and the External Advisory Board of MIT Energy Initiative. Ms Sabanci has a long list of honour. In 2011 alone, she was placed No. 2 on the Financial Times' list of the Top 50 Women in World Business, and also awarded the Schumpeter Prize, Responsible Leadership Award granted by the European School of Management and Technology, and Clinton Global Citizen Award founded by former US President Bill Clinton for her commitment to social, cultural and economic development throughout Turkey. She will be conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humanities.


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