In Memory of Professor Ma Lin

October 2017

Professor Ma Lin, the second Vice-Chancellor of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), passed away on 16 October, aged 93.

Professor Ma Lin was educated at the West China Union University and later the University of Leeds where he studied Protein Chemistry and was awarded a PhD in 1955.  A career in research and teaching followed.  After spending a year in England as post-doctoral fellow at University College Hospital (London) and St. James’s University Hospital (Leeds), he returned to Hong Kong in 1957 to teach at the University of Hong Kong.  His long association with CUHK started when he joined the University in 1964. He soon became Senior Lecturer and helped set up the new Department of Biochemistry.  His outstanding scholarship eventually earned him the Founding Chair of Biochemistry in 1973, and then the Dean of Science.  In 1978 he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University and steered its development until 1987 when he retired after a service of 23 years.

A distinguished biochemist and trailblazing educator, Professor Ma believed that the important missions of a modern university are teaching, research and public service and it is the duty of the university management to strike a proper balance between the three.  His nine-year tenure at the helm was characterized by a proactive leadership and a willingness to canvass views from the academics and other stakeholders.  Under his leadership, CUHK completed the implementation of the recommendations in the second Fulton Report of 1976, established the Faculty of Medicine, planned and established Shaw College, launched the part-time degree programmes and the PhD programmes, recruited more talented students with the Provisional Acceptance Scheme, adopted a flexible credit system and strengthened the General Education programmes.  In the same period, CUHK had also gone from strength to strength in terms of building its infrastructure, garnering support and donations for its capital programmes and research, and strengthening its ties with mainland and overseas institutions.

Professor Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK, pays tribute to Professor Ma: ‘Professor Ma was a scholar and educator of great vision and passion.  He was generous with his guidance of students and young scholars.  His leadership had bequeathed to CUHK a solid foundation for subsequent development on many fronts.  His passing is a sad loss for both the University and the higher education sector.’   

Professor Ma Lin is the first Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Shaw College, Emeritus Chair Professor, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa and Honorary Fellow of CUHK.  His life and contributions are captured very well by a sentence in the citation for his Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa: ‘As a scientist, Professor Ma brought to his office a logical mind with a penchant for rational arguments; at the same time, when all was said and done, he was fully capable of taking decisions with the wisdom of one who had a Confucian upbringing.’ 

The wake and memorial service will take place at 5 pm and 7:30 pm, respectively, on 27 October 2017 (Friday), at the Fuk Hoi Hall of the Hong Kong Funeral Home in North Point, Hong Kong. The funeral service will be held on 28 October (Saturday), at 10 am, at St. Stephen’s Church, 71 Bonham Road, Hong Kong.