A New Chapter in Your Lives—A Message to New Students

It gives me great pleasure and pride to welcome all of you to CUHK as you open a new chapter in your lives.

The University is a place where you pursue knowledge and seek wisdom, define your career goals and fulfill your dreams, cultivate moral values and build character, as well as to excel and serve the community.  In the coming four years, CUHK will equip you to face the challenges of a fast-paced and ever-changing world, and become contributing global citizens and effective leaders.  At CUHK, you will be instructed and inspired by some of the best academic minds. You will have a wide selection of courses, ranging from broad-based liberal topics to specialty subjects.  There will be an abundance of experiential learning opportunities provided by your academic departments, colleges, the Office of Student Affairs, and various student organizations, that will enable you to gain direct insights into real world societal issues, and to contemplate how you can contribute to the betterment of our society and the world at large.  

I am sure that there are multiple factors that have motivated you to choose CUHK to further your education. Perhaps you are impressed with our regional and international reputation in education, research, and knowledge transfer. Perhaps you are interested in our emphasis on whole-person education and humanistic values. Or perhaps you wish to experience our unique collegiate system. It is important to note that our reputation and tradition are the fruits of the diligence and dedication of all members of the CUHK community over the past 55 years. Everyone of us has the responsibility to cherish, safeguard and pass on this essence of CUHK. 

Since its inception, CUHK has steadfastly advanced its mission: ‘To Combine Tradition with Modernity; To Bring Together China and the West’ . CUHK has grown from a small institution of only 1,400 students to an internationally recognized comprehensive university with nine Colleges, eight Faculties, one graduate school, and a student population of over 20,000 local and international undergraduates and postgraduates. At CUHK, our students are educated to be tireless learners, genuine practitioners of what they have learned, and active contributors to the betterment of academia and society.

Recently, in late August, the Robocon Team of the CUHK Engineering Faculty, consisting of more than 30 student members, took with them two robots they developed to the  Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Asia-Pacific Robot Contest, and defeated 16 teams from 15 countries and regions to be crowned Robocon champion, the first team ever from Hong Kong to have won the competition. Over the past year, the Robocon Team worked with one mind to design and test their invention, and the last month of their preparation was especially intensive. The secret to their success is their camaraderie, indomitable passion, and dedication to excellence. Their achievement clearly illustrates that, in the CUHK family that stresses traditional and modern values, our students are ready and prepared to give their best and serve the community, and pass on academic knowledge and the ideals that they cherish.

University life can be as challenging as it is exciting.  Do not be discouraged if you experience challenges and changes, trials or setbacks, for our staff and faculty will always be there to give their full support. My namesake boxer in the movie Rocky says, ‘Life’s not about how hard of a hit you can give... it’s about how many you can take, and still keep going.’  A new environment naturally brings on new challenges, and you may initially feel at a loss.  Do get back up and move forward!  In the coming four years, I urge you to set for yourself short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals.  Keep an open mind and have a positive mindset in the face of adversity, and forge ahead with courage and steadfastness. Yet, do set aside time to pursue your outside interests and refresh your mind and body. 

Hong Kong has recently undergone much disheartening strife and serious challenges, which have caused great concern in all walks of society.  I would like to reassure all of you that, under all circumstances, CUHK will uphold its mission and its commitment to deliver excellent teaching and research and to serve the community through knowledge transfer and civic activities.  We will at all times safeguard freedom of speech and academic freedom.  I am sure that you will appreciate that CUHK is a community of members from different backgrounds, countries and cultures, who have different values and opinions.  In discussions and debates on academic and non-academic issues alike, let us always adhere to the principle of objectivity and rationality, and strive to understand every issue from different perspectives.  Always respect the rights of others for free speech while exercising your own, and do not let emotion rule over your behaviour. The motto of CUHK is: ‘Through Learning and Temperance to Virtue’ (Bo Wen Yue Li). Bo Wen means extensive learning, while Yue Li means keeping oneself regulated by the rules of propriety. A learned person must be strong both morally and intellectually. 

Dear students, please accept my deepest appreciation to all of you for joining the big family of CUHK and choosing us as your avenue of personal growth.  I sincerely wish you a most rewarding and unforgettable university journey.