Information Services Office   19.9.2011


Newsletter No. 383 > Feature > Freshmen's First Lesson

Freshmen's First Lesson


When the calendar flips to September, another school year begins. The Vice-Chancellor’s welcoming address at the annual inauguration ceremony for freshmen is essentially the first lesson of the new entrants. From the Vice-Chancellor’s words, they learn about the spirit and educational philosophy of the University, and have an idea of what their university life will be like in the next few years.

CUHK held the inauguration ceremony for freshmen on 5 September. In his welcoming speech, Vice-Chancellor Prof. Joseph J.Y. Sung encouraged students to open their minds and their hearts to the world and its problems, apart from acquiring knowledge and enhancing their social skills. It is because today, a problem in one country can easily affect the rest of the world, whether it be financial turmoil, carbon emissions or an epidemic.

Professor Sung urged the new students to fulfil their responsibilities as a global citizen and take part in social service, such as striving to understand poverty and AIDS-related problems in Africa, rendering services to victims of the Sichuan earthquake, and assisting new immigrants and ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. But he stressed, ‘I encourage you to take part in these activities, not as a means to earn your credit points, or to lengthen your résumé, but to take a peek at the “real” world which is waiting for you out there.’

He added, ‘If university students graduate without acquiring a sense of their rights and responsibilities to others and to the world, it would be a failure, on the part of the students, in attaining the maturity required for entering into the “real” world.’

Professor Sung concluded his speech with an extract from Lin Yutang’s The Wisdom of Confucius, ‘The principles of the higher education consist in preserving man’s clear character, in giving new life to the people, and in dwelling in perfection, or the ultimate good. Only after knowing the goal of perfection where one should dwell, can one have a definite purpose in life.’

As a mark of respect to Fiona Lee, the physics undergraduate admitted this year who unfortunately passed away earlier, Professor Sung was joined by all attending teachers and students in observing a one-minute silence before his speech. Professor Sung also read out a letter from Fiona’s father, Dr. Lee Wai-choi, who said, ‘Though Fiona’s life was short as a meteor, it was filled with love and joy; it was also fruitful and meaningful.’ Dr. Lee’s words served to encourage students to live a meaningful life.

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