The Liberal Art University in Hong Kong
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17 January 2020

President Leonard K Cheng

Dear Lingnanians,

 

Welcome back to the campus!  I wish to convey my warmest greetings and best wishes to you all as we begin 2020 and the new semester.  As we are also approaching the Chinese New Year, it is a perfect time to reflect on the past and look ahead into the future.

 

To Hong Kong, 2019 was a tough year.  The past six months have been especially difficult for everyone in the city, including our University.  Lingnan decided in mid-November 2019 to suspend all face-to-face classes when increasing chaos and violence erupted across the territory.  With escalating social unrest and tensions, many of our students left the campus in haste and distress.  To operate in such a turbulent environment, the University took a number of actions.  We adopted online teaching and strengthened learning support for students to ensure that their studies could continue even though classes were suspended.  We provided assistance to exchange and non-local students who wished to return to their home countries.  We rescheduled, postponed and cancelled some University events.  We also tightened up security and access control on campus.  

 

I am grateful that our new semester has now started as planned.  Given that the safety of staff and students is always our top priority, the University will continue to implement tightened security and access control measures on campus until further notice.  While these measures, especially ID verification at checkpoints, would inevitably have created some inconvenience, I hope you understand that they are taken out of caution and our obligation to preserve campus safety.  Thank you all for your understanding and patience.

 

My heartfelt gratitude and appreciation should also go to colleagues who have worked tirelessly to protect the University and provide students with the support and assistance they needed.  In spite of the challenging circumstances, the University must not lose sight of its vision and mission.  The year ahead will bring us new challenges, but it is important for all Lingnanians to unite and work together to show our Lingnan spirit.  To begin our journey of 2020, let me share with you some of the recent developments of the University.

 

Since 1 January 2020, Mr Andrew Yao has been appointed as the new Council Chairman. Mr Yao has a wealth of experience and knowledge in the local higher education sector.  While serving as a member of the Council and the Court as well as a member of the Career Development Committee and the Institutional Advancement Committee under the Council between 2013 and 2016, Mr Yao contributed significantly to the development of the University. I warmly welcome Mr Yao as the new Chairman of our Council, and look forward to working with him closely in the years to come.   I am confident that under Mr Yao’s guidance, we will be able to take the University to new heights as we move forward with our new Strategic Plan 2019-2025.  Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend my best wishes to our immediate past Council Chairman Mr Rex Auyeung and thank him for his remarkable contribution to the University over the years.

 

We have also achieved some good progress in fundraising.  Late last year we received a generous donation of HK$15,000,000 from the Lam Kei On Memorial Trust to establish the Lam Kau Yui Research Fund and Lam Kau Yui Professorship in Religious Studies.  The former aims to enhance the research support provided to junior academic staff and raise the quality of their research output while the latter will enrich our students’ learning experience through courses in religious studies offered by the Endowed Professor.

 

As Lingnan enters the next phase of development, we must forge closer and stronger ties with internal and external stakeholders.  Thus, connecting with our alumni, both at home and abroad, will continue to be one of our key priorities.  In mid-December 2019, I was invited by the Lingnan Foundation in the U.S. to give a presentation on the University’s development to its Board of Trustees at its Board Dinner in Los Angeles, which gave me a great opportunity to get together with members of the Lingnan Alumni Association in Los Angeles.  I am grateful to these two organisations for their hospitality and their support for the University over the years.

 

I am optimistic about the upcoming Year of the Rat, and hope that it will bring us more courage and wisdom to overcome any difficulties.  As we dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of knowledge, let us act together to create a vibrant and diverse community, upholding the principles of mutual respect, inclusiveness, civility and rationality. Moreover, as we strive to grow stronger, let us remember to also make stronger commitments to the society we serve.

 

Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and fruitful 2020 and Year of the Rat!  Thank you very much.

 

Yours truly,

Leonard K Cheng
President