EdUHK to Confer Honorary Doctorates on Distinguished Individuals
The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) will confer honorary doctorates on two distinguished individuals at the Congregation on 22 November 2019 (Friday), in recognition of the significant contributions they have made in their respective fields in advancing education and inspiring the next generation. They are (in alphabetical order by surname):
- Professor Harold Abelson
- Dr Chan Shuk-leung, GBS
Professor Harold Abelson
~ Doctor of Education, honoris causa
Professor Harold Abelson, Class of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, is a pioneer in popularising Computational Thinking (CT) around the world.
Holding a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from MIT, Professor Abelson believes that students should move beyond mere technology consumption into problem-solving and innovation through learning about CT. He directed the implementation of Logo for the Apple II in 1981, an interactive computer language to help children to acquire basic programming skills. Later, he developed MIT App Inventor in collaboration with Google, a user-friendly system that made it easier for students to create their own mobile applications.
Devoted to inspiring youth with digital creativity, he has been a member of the expert group of the CoolThink@JC project since 2016, a cutting-edge initiative to integrate CT education into primary schools in Hong Kong, co-organised by EdUHK, MIT, City University of Hong Kong and other partners. In just four years, the project has benefitted over 16,500 primary students in 32 pilot schools.
Professor Abelson has played a significant role in fostering the openness of intellectual resources. In the 2000s, he took the initiative to launch the OpenCourseWare and DSpace, electronic platforms offered by MIT to share its academic property with the public. He was also the founding director of Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, and the Free Software Foundation, all devoted to strengthening the global intellectual commons.
He was designated one of MIT’s six inaugural MacVicar Faculty Teaching Fellows in 1992. In recognition of his sustained contribution to education, a string of awards have been bestowed upon him over the years, including the Bose Award, the Taylor L. Booth Education Award, and the ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award.
Dr Chan Shuk-leung, GBS
~ Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa
Dr Chan Shuk-leung, better known by her stage name, Pak Suet-sin, is a renowned Cantonese opera star, who has devoted her career to preserving, reviving and transforming this precious part of our cultural heritage.
Born into a Cantonese opera family, Dr Chan fell in love with the art form since early childhood, and began her apprenticeship under Mr Sit Gok-sin at the age of 13. Her determination and exceptional talent earned her the role of principal actress at the age of 14. She nevertheless remained humble despite her early success, constantly seeking to improve and perfect her performance skills and techniques.
In the 1940s, Dr Chan began to work with a new stage partner, Ms Yam Kim-fai, who would go on to have a profound impact on her career and this new tie-in also marked the beginning of the legendary “Yam-Pak partnership”. Working closely with master playwright Mr Tong Tik-sang, the pair successfully transformed a traditional art form from a leisurely entertainment for the masses to a sophisticated aesthetic performance, by borrowing from Peking opera and Kunqu opera, and also in vastly improving stage setting designs and the production of theatrical effects.
In 1963, together with Ms Yam, Dr Chan established the Chor Fung Ming Opera Troupe, offering performance opportunities for a new generation of Cantonese opera stars. Between 2004 and 2019 and through Yam Pak Charitable Foundation, Dr Chan, in the capacity of artistic director, staged a series of performances by Ms Lung Kim-sang and Ms Chan Po-chu and in partnership with Ms Mui Suet-si, revitalising many classics familiar to the audience.
In recognition of her many contributions in the preservation and innovation of Cantonese opera, Dr Chan was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong SAR Government in 2013. She was named Honorary Fellow of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 1996, and was conferred Honorary Doctoral degrees by The University of Hong Kong in 2004, Hong Kong Shue Yan University in 2014, and The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2017.