The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou) (HKUST(GZ)) held its opening ceremony today. Central Government, mainland and Hong Kong officials, Presidents and senior management of top universities around the world, business leaders, long-term partners and founding members of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), either participated in person or via the metaverse to extend their greetings to the HKUST(GZ), wishing that under the “Unified HKUST, Complementary Campuses” principle, the two campuses will cultivate more future-oriented innovative talents and pioneer a new direction in the higher education sector.
The ceremony in celebration of the HKUST(GZ) opening was staged simultaneously in HKUST’s Guangzhou and Clear Water Bay (CWB) campus. Communist Party Secretary of Guangdong Province Mr. LI Xi, Minister of Education Dr. HUAI Jinpeng, Governor of Guangdong Province Mr. WANG Weizhong, Secretary of the Communist Party Guangzhou Municipal Committee Mr. LIN Keqing and HKUST(GZ) President Prof. Lionel NI – who also presided the opening ceremony of HKUST(GZ), jointly announced the official opening of the Guangzhou campus. Dr. Huai Jinpeng and Mr. Wang Weizhong delivered speeches at the ceremony, while Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and former Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Mr. LEUNG Chun-Ying, as well as HKSAR Chief Executive Mr. John LEE Ka-Chiu spoke on screen at the event.
The ceremony held at the Shaw Auditorium on HKUST’s CWB campus began with a virtual speech delivered by the HKSAR Chief Executive Mr. John Lee, followed by an opening remark made by HKUST Council Chairman Mr. Andrew LIAO Cheung-Sing; then speeches from HKUST Court Chairman, former Council Chairman and Founding Council member Dr. John CHAN; Chairman of the University Grants Committee (UGC) Mr. Carlson TONG; HKUST President-designate Prof. Nancy IP and President Prof. Wei SHYY. Former HKSAR Chief Executive Mrs. Carrie LAM Cheng Yuet-Ngor; Shui On Group Chairman, former HKUST Council Chairman and Honorary Court Chairman Dr. Vincent LO Hong-Sui; Fok Ying Tung Group Managing Director, former HKUST Council member and Honorary Court member Dr. Ian FOK Chun-Wan, among other distinguished guests, witnessed through broadcast the opening of the Guangzhou campus with hundreds of HKUST faculty, staff and students.
Presidents and senior management from universities spanning Hong Kong, Mainland, US, Europe, Canada, Japan and Central America; as well as Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR Prof. TAN Tieniu, Secretary for Education of the HKSAR Dr. CHOI Yuk-lin, Chairman of Yuexiu Group Mr. ZHANG Zhaoxing and Dr. TUNG Chee-Chen of The Tung Foundation, showed support either by sending in blessings or joining the virtual ceremony.
The formal establishment of HKUST(GZ) is an important milestone of HKUST’s 30 years of history, marking an era of HKUST2.0 for both campuses. In his opening speech, HKUST(GZ) President Prof. Lionel NI said the establishment of HKUST(GZ) is not only an innovative act to promote the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, but is also a new exploration of Hong Kong-Mainland collaboration in the field of education.
A torch relay symbolizing passing on of the spirit was played at the opening ceremony. Starting its journey from the Clear Water Bay campus, the torch was passed between teachers and students, eventually arriving in Nansha, Guangzhou. In metaverse, HKUST(GZ) President Prof. Ni took over the torch from HKUST Founding President Prof. WOO Chia Wei, before returning to reality through the “Gate of Metaverse”, and placed the real torch on the main stage. A “laser knife” then slowly carved out the emblem of HKUST. This metaverse encounter echoes a joint announcement made by the two universities in July this year over the establishment of the world’s first “Twin Campuses in Metaverse”, which will connect students and research activities at different geographical locations through immersive learning experience in the future.
HKUST Council Chairman Mr. Andrew LIAO Cheung-Sing said, “Five years ago, we received an invitation from Guangzhou Municipal Government to establish a university in the Nansha District of Guangzhou, riding on the Nation’s drive to develop the Greater Bay Area. Right at the beginning, both sides shared the same vision and goal, namely - establishing a university with academic standard and management quality comparable to those of HKUST. At this historical moment in the history of HKUST, I would like to thank the Ministry of Education, different levels of Governments in the Province of Guangdong, the Municipality of Guangzhou and the District of Nansha, our joint-venture partner Guangzhou University, and our Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, as well as all participating in the building and establishment of HKUST(GZ).”
HKUST President Prof. Wei SHYY said, “Today we are fortunate to be part of HKUST’s historical development. As long as we are united, we can handle any challenges. Together, HKUST and HKUST(GZ) will create a bright future and make history. I urge our colleagues to keep the determination to try, to iterate, to refine, and to adapt so that the university’s and society’s interests will be truly served. Many colleagues and partners have demonstrated extraordinary dedication via dutiful efforts and many extra hours beyond regular responsibilities, especially during the pandemic time. Thank you all!”
HKUST President-designate Prof. Nancy IP said, “I am pleased to witness the historic moment of HKUST(GZ)’s official opening with you. This marks a new chapter for HKUST. The two campuses will work closely under an innovative and complementary framework to realize coordinated development in teaching and learning, research and development, as well as knowledge transfer. I am full of confidence in the future development of the two campuses, and look forward to working with everyone to give full play to the advantages of cooperation, so that we can continuously progress in our quest to build a world-class institution of higher learning, and cultivate more future-oriented innovative leaders.”
Founding President of the HKUST, Prof Woo Chia-Wei said, "About thirty years ago, a group of scholars with knowledge, capability, and passion came to Hong Kong, and co-founded HKUST at Clear Water Bay. Then, a little more than twenty years ago, HKUST formed a strong bond with Nansha by establishing the HKUST Nansha Information Technology Park. Today I am very pleased to witness the opening of HKUST(GZ) at Nansha. I look forward to seeing our colleagues and students at the two HKUST campuses redouble their efforts, and continue to make important contributions to the nation and to all mankind through higher education, scientific innovation, and cultural creativity.”
After the ceremony, HKUST(GZ) will held a seminar where academicians exchanged ideas on the challenges in grooming interdisciplinary talents. Later in the evening, a welcome gala for new faculty, staff and students was held in the rooftop garden, featuring live band performance and a drone show. On September 2, HKUST(GZ) President Prof. Lionel Ni will deliver the “First Lecture of the Term” on the nurturing of innovative talents, follows by paper art performance, roundtable discussion and students debate competition.
Meanwhile, the CWB campus of HKUST – under strict compliance of the government’s Covid-19 prevention regulations, also staged various activities including magic show, Latin dance, singing and robot dance in the evening of September 1, to welcome freshmen and celebrate commencement of the new school term.