Nobel Laureate and World Authority on Plant Molecular Biology appointed
¡§The two Masters-Designate will start to participate in the planning for their respective new college immediately. With the additional contributions of the two Masters-Designate, I am confident that the University¡¦s college system will be further strengthened. CUHK students will have more choices and there will be closer interaction among students and teachers,¡¨ Professor Lau said.
Nobel Laureate with extensive Oxbridge experience to lead Morningside College
A pioneer in optimal taxation theory, Professor Sir James Mirrlees was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1996 in recognition of his fundamental contributions to the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information. He was knighted in 1997. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh in 1957, Professor Mirrlees was admitted to Trinity College at Cambridge University and received his PhD in Economics in 1963. From 1968 to 1995 he was Edgeworth Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Nuffield College. From 1995 to 2003, he has served as Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge. He has been Distinguished Professor-at-Large at CUHK since 2002. Professor Mirrlees has also held visiting professorships at MIT, UC Berkeley, Yale and Melbourne.
Professor Mirrlees has been closely associated with Oxford and Cambridge for nearly half a century. Oxford and Cambridge were the pioneers of the college system, which has been in place for over 800 years. He fully appreciates the benefits of non-formal education within a college system. ¡§In colleges, students and professors can meet in small groups, and one on one. Students meet and talk and argue and learn from one another more in colleges,¡¨ he said. In colleges, he says, strong and valuable friendships are formed that continue for the rest of life.
Professor Mirrlees identifies himself with the educational ideals of Morningside College, with emphasis on the pursuit of knowledge and service to the community. He believes that ¡§a good college should within itself generate discoveries, creations and new understanding. The new college should be a community of independent thinkers, where students can think for themselves, argue with anyone, explore knowledge.¡¨ He also believes that exploration means seeking the answers to questions. The Fellows of the college must help the students to be questioners, by example. They can stimulate the students and also bring people with new ideas and special experience to talk to them. And he also hopes to enable the students to be helpers too, to use their vacations helping the needy.
An economist of world renown, Professor Mirrlees has special interest in taxation, and development economics. A new book The Mirrlees Report on Tax Systems, being written by a team under his leadership, will be published next year. He has recently been conducting research on the Chinese economies; and in particular social security and pension plans in Asia, especially China. As Distinguished Professor-at-Large at CUHK, he has provided academic leadership for the University community and delivered public lectures from time to time. Professor Mirrlees is a member of an independent advisory group that prepares studies of economic issues of interest to the Government of China and has met with Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People¡¦s Republic of China. He has given special lectures at various mainland universities, including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Northwest University in Xi¡¦an, Zhejiang University, Nanjing University, Nankai University, Sichuan University, Shantou University, and Macau University.
World Authority on Plant Molecular Biology to head S. H. Ho College
Currently Professor of Biology at CUHK, Professor Samuel Sun is the first scientist in the world to have cloned a plant gene. He is also the principal investigator of a UGC-supported Area of Excellence project entitled ¡§Plant and Fungal Biotechnology¡¨, which has made important contributions to solving the world¡¦s food shortage problem. Professor Sun is currently Honorary/Visiting Professor of 13 universities and institutes in China including Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, University of Science and Technology of China, and China Agricultural University. He also serves on several key scientific advisory committees in mainland China and Taiwan. Professor Sun is a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
Professor Sun graduated from the Biology Department of New Asia College at CUHK and furthered his studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he received his PhD. He subsequently worked for the ARCO Plant Cell Research Institute as Senior and Principal Scientist as well as Head of its Molecular Biology Department, and engaged in teaching and research at the University of Hawaii. He returned to CUHK, his alma mater, to chair its Biology Department in 1996. He was selected 2005 Leader of the Year in recognition of his remarkable contributions to education and the advancement of technology.
As a university student, Professor Sun participated actively in college activities, which helped to shape his views on life, personal integrity and service. He remembered that classes in his student days were small, which allowed very intimate interaction among teachers and students. Many of his classmates have in fact become lifelong friends. ¡§With the establishment of the new college, we aim to create a homely learning environment where students can integrate knowledge into their everyday lives, and develop both their intellectual skills and integrity. College life will enrich their learning experience and equip them for service to the community after graduation,¡¨ Professor Sun said.
Professor Sun has great admiration and respect for the late Dr Ho Sin-hang, founder of The S. H. Ho Foundation. He is gratified to know that the new S. H. Ho College has a mission to cultivate a commitment to personal responsibility and integrity. Professor Sun always teaches his students to be good citizens, to care for and to serve those in need. His current two major research projects, one in collaboration with Professor Yuan Longping, ¡§Father of hybrid rice¡¨, to develop a high yielding super-hybrid rice aiming at feeding tens of millions more Chinese people, and another international collaborative project supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates¡¦ Foundation to develop a nutrient-rich Golden Rice for humanitarian use, set good example of empathy.
As the Master-designate, Professor Sun hopes that students of S. H. Ho College will enjoy their campus life and benefit from the whole-person education which the college sets out to offer. He will continue to strengthen communication with students and teach by example.
In May 2006, CUHK received a generous donation of HK$100 million from the Morningside Foundation and Morningside Education Foundation to establish Morningside College, and a generous gift of HK$170 million from The S. H. Ho Foundation to establish S. H. Ho College. Morningside College will accommodate 300 students and S. H. Ho College 600, both on a fully residential and communal dining basis. Nominations for the Masters of the new colleges were made by members of the University Council, members of the University and the community. The two Masters-Designate were appointed today by the University Council upon the recommendation of the Planning Committees of the two Colleges. Their appointment will take effect from 16 August 2006. Both will continue to carry out their teaching and research duties at CUHK while actively planning for the establishment of the new colleges.