Honorary University Fellow (2019)
Mr Kenneth Kwok is a successful entrepreneur who, because of his family upbringing and Christian faith, devotes much of his time and significant resources to community advancement. A Director of several companies, including Eagle Wide Ltd., Mr Kwok is also a representative of the Kwok Chung Bo Fun Charitable Fund. The Fund was established by him and his brothers in accordance with their late mother’s wish to put her estate to a broad range of meaningful uses.
Mr Kwok studied Economics and Mathematics at the University of Toronto in Canada. Upon returning to Hong Kong in 1984, he entered into the banking industry. In 1990, with his father’s passing, he joined the family business in property development, jewellery retail, and toy design and manufacturing.
Mr Kwok describes himself as being brought up in a ‘conservative family’. By that he means an environment where he learned the importance of striking a balance between positive benefits and negative risks in any given situation. Raised in an environment in which some may describe as a traditional family, where his father was a devoted businessman who spent most of his time in his work and his stay-at-home mother who dedicated herself to her children’s wellbeing and education, Mr Kwok nevertheless developed a viewpoint that there are many sides to everything. Freedom comes from the ability to find an equilibrium. ‘Of all things,’ Mr Kwok relates, ‘politics and religion are most difficult, which is to say it is very hard to find the right balancing point in them’. Therefore, whether in discussion with his two children or with young people in general, Mr Kwok emphasizes the importance of firsthand experience of things before seeking a truthful path between them. Carrying this attitude with him, Mr. Kwok became firmly committed to promoting community advancement through earnest and direct involvement.
He recalls fondly his memory of joining a youth summer camp organized by Breakthrough Youth Village. For three years, he participated in the camp so as to come in direct contact with underprivileged youth. He also recalls seeing many broken chairs and tables when visiting the classroom of an underfunded school and feeling an overwhelming sense of connection to the need of the students there. Mr Kwok emphasizes that when considering a request for donation, it is important for him to first find resonance with specific social needs through his firsthand participation.
In addition, the family fund supports the cultivation of good character among young people. Mr Kwok believes that university is the epitome of society. It is not just a place to transmit knowledge, but a place of cultural inheritance, so that students can practise caring and learn to take responsibility. The real mission of education, Mr Kwok believes, is to shape the good values of a generation and encourage young people to promote social progress. He feels that a university should excel beyond academic and research performance. The development of students and the cultivation of their character are equally indispensable.
Indeed, Mr Kwok and his brothers have been staunch supporters of HKBU. Besides being the Honorary Permanent Presidents of the HKBU Foundation, they have made substantial donations through the family fund and Eagle Wide Limited to support numerous initiatives of the University since 2011. For example, through a donation from the Kwok brothers in 2011, the Mr. Kwok Yat Wai and Madam Kwok Chung Bo Fun Graduate School Development Fund, named in honour of their parents, was established in support of the teaching and research activities of the Graduate School. In the same year, they set up the Faith • Hope • Love Endowment Fund to support HKBU’s student character development programme. In recognition of their generosity, the University named the cultural and recreation centre on Shaw Campus the Madam Kwok Chung Bo Fun Sports and Cultural Centre.
Further donations were received from Mr Kwok and the family fund in support of various endeavours of the University, including those in 2013-15 for the advancement of the School of Chinese Medicine (SCM), establishment of the Kwok Yat Wai Endowed Chair of Environmental and Biological Analysis in the Faculty of Science, and the Campus Master Plan among others. In 2015, the family fund also sponsored the development of the academic complex in HKBU Affiliated School Wong Kam Fai Secondary and Primary School.
Moreover, with the support of the family fund, the University has been able to beautify the campus entrance plaza on Baptist University Road. In addition, a new mosaic mural with the theme of ‘Life Tree’ has appeared on the Shaw campus to underscore the connections between art and religion to the campus. The Kwok family hopes that murals are not only used to decorate or beautify the environment, but also to communicate with the viewer through exquisite art, words, and images. By now, the entrance plaza and the Life Tree mural have become landmark must-see attractions for visitors, students, and parents alike, especially during the Commencement period.
“What do you want most in life?” Mr Kwok asks. He believes that wealth, fame, and success are short-lived. He and his brothers hope for the world to care more about the needs of the soul. A generous philanthropist with principled dedication to education and public welfare, Mr Kwok has exerted a positive and lasting influence on innumerable people in our community. His many contributions of resources to support social advancement, his devotion to help develop the spiritual quality of young people, and his own exemplary character hallmark him as a man of extraordinary generosity and integrity.