Mrs Kitty Toa Kit Tse
Honorary University Fellow (2017)
Rarely has a University Fellow been associated with Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) in more than one role: as a teacher, librarian, and administrator, but this is the case with Mrs Kitty Tse. Starting from the late 1960s, she served not only as a teacher in mass communications, but also as the Dean of Women and the Librarian. It is in that last capacity that she committed nearly thirty years to the growth of the Library of the Hong Kong Baptist College (HKBC), which gained university status in 1994. This was during a period of immense technological development within the tertiary education sector in Hong Kong, and within libraries that involved moving from traditional forms of organisation to adopting an integrated library automation system. Notably, Mrs Tse led the Library to become the first local academic library to boast a computerised library system, indicating in this perspective just how forward-looking and organisationally astute Mrs Tse was. During the first fifteen years with Mrs Tse at the helm, the Library witnessed a four-fold increase in staff. With dedicated efforts, she also led the Library in the transition from a small private college library, with a collection of around 32,000 volumes, to a publicly funded academic library with over 170,000 volumes. Before her retirement in 1998, the HKBU Library had close to 600,000 items of printed and non-printed materials, and the Library’s system was fully computerised to provide efficient services for students and faculty members.
All of this impressive work as HKBU’s Librarian had its foundation built through excellent training and international experience that Mrs Tse acquired during nearly ten years of residence in the USA from 1959 to 1968. There she first received undergraduate training in education, and then obtained a Master’s Degree in Library Science (MLS) from the University of Pittsburgh. Upon graduating from Pittsburgh in 1965, Mrs Tse respectively served as Head of two branch libraries of Pennsylvania State University, followed by a year as Reference Librarian in a branch library of the expansive New York Public Library system. Obviously, the experiences gained from these library postings in the US provided all the justifications for Mrs Tse to become the ideal candidate for the Deputy Librarian position at HKBC once she returned to Hong Kong in 1968 with her husband, Dr Daniel C W Tse to join the HKBC workforce.
In 1971, Mrs Tse was promoted to the post of Librarian of HKBC. 1971 was also a time when mainland China was beginning to recover from the political turmoil of the 1960s. Mrs Tse took the initiative of collecting reference materials relating to the subject she taught at HKBC – mass communication studies. So valuable and unprecedented was her work that the bibliography of the collection she produced was published by the East-West Center in Honolulu in 1972. Between 1979 and 1982, Mrs Tse undertook personal visits to major university libraries on the Chinese mainland. This is to say that during a period when mainland China was not yet open up to the world, Mrs Tse was already fully engaged in understanding the development of China, and at the same time evaluating and collecting reference materials that later led to the setting up of the “Contemporary China Research” special collection at HKBC. The Collection, pioneered by Mrs Tse's efforts, today attracts scholars from afar visiting HKBU Library for conducting research. While visiting the mainland academic libraries, Mrs Tse also helped HKBC build up strong links with major mainland universities, which was very effective in fostering the strength of the overall library collection, and in particularly the special acquisitions of the Library during the 1980s and 1990s.
Mrs Tse has forged intimate ties with Hong Kong Baptist churches and communities. Notably, her first degree is a Bachelor of Theology received from Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary in 1959. After retirement from HKBU, she returned there to serve as Volunteer Librarian and Honorary Consultant for ten years (1998–2008). Throughout the past years in Hong Kong, both she and Dr Daniel Tse have been active and contributing members of the Academic Community Church, which later became University Baptist Church, as well as members of major committees of the Baptist Convention of Hong Kong. Mrs Tse’s commitment to the Christian heritage has been unswerving.
In recognition of her contribution to the University, in particular her outstanding leadership to the HKBU Library, and her sterling support for the Baptist communities in Hong Kong, it is only right and appropriate to honour Mrs Kitty Tse with a University Fellowship.