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It is with great sadness for the University to learn of the death of Prof. Tam Sheung-wai, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor who played a pivotal role in the development of CUHK, who passed away on 1 January 2021 at the age of 86.
Professor Tam received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from the University of Hong Kong in 1958 and 1961, respectively. He then pursued postgraduate studies at the University of Nottingham and obtained his PhD in Chemistry in 1964. In 1965, Professor Tam joined Chung Chi College as a lecturer in Chemistry and subsequently went on a distinguished career at CUHK for about 30 years, having been, successively, the President of Chung Chi College (1976-77), the Head of Chung Chi College (1977-81, 1988-90), Professor of Chemistry (1978-82), the Dean of the Graduate School (1981-93), Chair Professor of Chemistry (1982-95), and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (1990-94). In recognition of his invaluable contributions to CUHK in areas of research, teaching and administration, the University conferred on Professor Tam the Honorary Fellowship in 2011.
For more than three decades, Professor Tam had spent nearly every day working selflessly for the students and committing to the betterment of the University. Besides teaching in the Department of Chemistry, he had been the Warden of Ying Lin Tang, the first student hostel of Chung Chi College, for many years. While he was the Dean of the Graduate School, Professor Tam devoted much time to developing postgraduate studies and related research and doctoral programmes. Greatly respected for his foresight, Professor Tam was a benign and magnanimous gentleman beloved by colleagues and students through and through.
After his retirement from CUHK in 1995, Professor Tam was appointed President of the Open University of Hong Kong in the same year. In 2002, he was awarded the Hong Kong SAR Government’s Gold Bauhinia Star. In 2008, his alma mater, the University of Nottingham, conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.
Professor Tam was a revered and much loved senior educator and administrator who had dedicated his life to the betterment of CUHK and local tertiary education. The warmth of his personality and the legacy he left will long live in the memory of all members of the University.