Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa (2021)
Outside Sin Hang Campus here at Hong Kong Baptist University is a plaque that bears the name of Dr David Ho Tzu-cho’s father. It is there because of Dr Ho’s steadfast support to this university in so many ways over so many years. Philanthropy, especially toward education, is somewhat a family tradition in the Ho family. Every day, our students enjoy the fantastic facilities of Sin Hang campus, thanks to a generous gift from Dr Ho and his family. Dr Ho’s contribution has supported various campus development at Hong Kong Baptist University over the past 35 years, including Wai Hang Sports Centre and in 1992 the establishment of the David C Lam Building. Beyond this university, the Chinese University of Hong Kong has the S H Ho College and the Ho Sin Hang Engineering Building. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has the S H Ho Sports Hall. What was once the Hang Seng School of Commerce is today Hang Seng University of Hong Kong. Dr Ho’s contribution to his alma mater, Lingnan University, helped to establish a new campus in 1995. He also gave generously to the Lingnan Education Organization Limited.
So why the generosity and devotion? After all, when you understand the ups and downs of the Hang Seng Index, investing in institutions of knowledge is probably not the best guarantee of monetary return. We research into the unknown, not all of which is successful. We educate young people, some of whom might even fail. Regardless of these, Dr Ho believes that education changes lives. It changes the fate of the entire societies. That understanding is exemplified through Dr Ho’s life and his success in business.
Dr Ho’s ancestry originated from Panyu in Guangdong Province. He himself was born in Hong Kong in 1922 and went to Pui Ching Middle School. In 1942, he continued his education at Lingnan University in Guangdong, majoring in economics, and eventually graduated from Yenching University in Beijing in 1947. He then went on to the Catholic University in Washington D.C. in the United States, where he graduated with a master degree in economics. As a young man, Dr Ho worked in the United States and Thailand, before returning to Hong Kong in 1957 to join Hang Seng Bank. What started off as a money changing shop in Sheung Wan in 1933 had by then, became a commercial bank. Under Dr Ho’s leadership, Hang Seng became the largest Chinese owned bank in Hong Kong in the sixties and seventies. The Hang Seng Index, started in 1969, is the benchmark of the Hong Kong stock exchange and sometimes described as Hong Kong’s happiness index. Since the 1980s, Dr Ho has been leading his family business, Bethlehem Management Limited to be an outstanding member in the industry.
Dr Ho is currently the Chair of the S H Ho Foundation, which supports a broad range of charitable causes in China and beyond, mainly in education, scientific research and medical services. Here at HKBU, the S H Ho Foundation has made significant contributions to campus expansion, institutional advancement and innovative research projects. It is an honorary trustee of the Hong Kong Baptist University Fund. Last year, when so many of our students struggled through online classes at home without their friends and classmates, the Foundation helped us set up the S H Ho Student Exchange Scholarship Endowment Fund so that our students can look forward to expanding their horizons on exchanges overseas.
Dr Ho has made significant contributions to the development and cultivation of talents in medical science. His contributions to Chinese medicine has also inspired endless possibilities. In 1999, Dr Ho’s contribution helped to launch a joint research laboratory in Chinese medicine between Hong Kong Baptist University and Tsinghua University in Beijing. Since then, thousands of students have graduated from our double degree programme in Chinese Medicine and Biomedical Science. Our university now runs 10 Chinese medicine clinics. Construction of a brand new Chinese Medicine Hospital has just begun in Tseung Kwan O and HKBU will help provide the services under a privatepublic partnership when it opens in 2025.
Beyond this campus, medical students at the University of Hong Kong enjoy dormitory facilities, thanks to Dr Ho’s donation. He also helped the establishment of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine. On the mainland, gifts from the S H Ho Foundation helped the completion of the neurological center at Guangzhou Medical College and the medical school at Zhongshan University. Beijing Medical School was able to acquire some state of the art equipment, thanks to Dr Ho’s generosity.
Dr David Ho is also a Vice Patron of The Community Chest of Hong Kong. Through the S H Ho Foundation, Dr Ho has been serving the need in society and supporting various social welfare projects and non-governmental organisations, including agencies providing services for children, the The Hong Kong Society for the Aged (SAGE) Madam Ho Sin Hang Home for the Elderly and a Hall at the Breakthrough Youth Village in Shatin are just some examples of how Dr Ho’s contributions have touched the lives of the young and old alike.
In recognition of Dr David Ho’s commitment to education, medical science research and philanthropy, and his confidence in our young people and the future of Hong Kong, HKBU is pleased to award Dr David Ho Tzu-cho the Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa.