Teaching and Research
Honoring Leaders for
Their Innovation and Social Contribution
at the 19th Congregation

The Congregation is one of the most anticipated days in the University's calendar. It is the day of pomp and circumstance, of marking the successful completion of formal studies. At the Congregation, the University also honored outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to the community and to humanity.

The Hon Elsie LEUNG Oi Sie
Doctor of Laws honoris causa
Dr Simon IP Sik On
Doctor of Laws honoris causa
Prof Tobin J Marks
Doctor of Science honoris causa
Doctor of Engineering honoris causa

Of four people chosen to receive top honors at the 19th Congregation, two are legal experts: the Hon Elsie Leung Oi-Sze, the Hong Kong SAR's first Secretary for Justice, and Dr Simon Ip Sik-on, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Stewards of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, former President of the Hong Kong Law Society and a founding Council member of HKUST. They were awarded Doctor of Laws honoris causa. Both played an important role in Hong Kong through upholding the rule of law. Dr Ip served on the Basic Law Consultative Committee, represented the Legal Functional Constituency as a Legislative Councillor and chaired the Bills Committee. Dr Elsie Leung, who was an ex-officio member of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Law Reform Commission, has never ceased to seek justice for vulnerable members of society. The other two honorees are scientists. Prof Tobin J Marks, Vladimir N Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University, was awarded Doctor of Science honoris causa. Prof Tobin was hailed as the 'Molecule Master' for his design of 'smart' molecules to enable new kinds of environmentally-friendly plastics. Prof Eli Yablonovitch, James & Katherine Lau Chair in Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley and Director of the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science, was awarded Doctor of Engineering honoris causa. He was one of the two applied physicists who invented the field of photonic crystals early in 1987 and developed a technique that is now  globally applied to the majority of semiconductor lasers.

Congregation is also the occasion for recognizing HKUST's own home-grown heroes. Prof Amine Bermak of the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering was awarded the University’s highest honor for teachers — the Michael G Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching for his excellence in inspirational education. For contributions to student service, this year’s Stephen Cheung Kam-chuen Medal went to Mr Hung Hin San, a student in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management and Vice-President (Internal) of the Students’ Union during 2010-2011. We also recognized the unsung heroes with the President's Outstanding Service Awards.

This year we achieved greater success in staging a carbon-neutral congregation as our carbon dioxide emissions reduced substantially by over 10% compared to last year.