MU Connect issue 3 (page 14 to 17)

Home MU Connect issue 3 (page 14 to 17)

Ir Dr Conrad Wong appointed Council Chairman to succeed Mr Michael Wong

Ir Dr Conrad Wong Tin-cheung has been appointed Chairman of the HKMU Council to succeed Mr Michael Wong Yick-kam for a term of three years starting 20 June 2022.

Dr Wong has been serving on the Council as Deputy Chairman since 2019. A seasoned leader in the construction industry, he is currently the Vice Chairman of Yau Lee Group and the Managing Director of Yau Lee Construction Company Limited. He possesses a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in Civil Engineering, an EMBA Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Sciences, and a Doctoral Degree in Architecture and Civil Engineering. Dr Wong has wide experience and exposure in higher education, public service and the business sector.

Ir Dr Conrad Wong: The best is yet to come

From the top floor of the Jockey Club Institute of Healthcare, Dr Wong overlooks the multitude of pedestrians in Mong Kok, and turns his gaze to the University logo representing 'Me & U' on the outer wall of the campus building. The Chairman, who has just assumed his new post in June this year, says in an inspired moment, 'At this time, I especially feel that HKMU is closely related to the people of Hong Kong!'

Strengthening the image of application-oriented university

Joining the Council as Deputy Chairman in 2019, Dr Wong witnessed the whole University retitling process — from germination to its flowering. He is delighted to see that the development has opened up a new era for the University with a clear positioning, yet he believes we can go the extra mile to strengthen our image as an application-oriented institution. 'While the University is dedicated to nurturing students to realise their dreams and cultivating talents to meet society's needs, it also demonstrates a strong commitment to applied research that addresses social issues and pain points of industries,' he explicates. He is also in agreement with the University motto 'Transcendence through Erudition and Renewal', which encourages our students to make a difference through steadfast learning and continuously improve their character with virtues.

Dr Wong concurs with upholding the noble mission of providing 'Education for All' and shares an inspiring saga that has made an impact on the lives of three generations. 'The daughter of a female friend of mine, who used to be rebellious in her teens, gave birth to a baby girl while still in school and dropped out of study when she was in Form 3. Not until she reached her thirties did she experience an epiphany and realise the value of knowledge. She then enrolled in the then OUHK and completed a degree programme with dedicated efforts.' Dr Wong's friend was deeply moved by the opportunity her daughter received from the University, which made a difference to her whole family. 'Her daughter continued to study and got a Master’s degree in the same year her granddaughter graduated from university.' The touching story made the Chairman understand that education is equally important to everyone, and he hopes that the University will continue to nurture future pillars of society at all levels through full-time education and distance learning.

Putting resources to good use

Seeing the pressure on admission resulting from a decline in student population and the impact of the emigration wave on staff strength, Dr Wong reckons, 'Our priorities are to enhance teaching quality, cast a wider student recruitment net, and offer more programmes that students are interested in.' He points out that self-financing institutions have greater flexibility than government-funded universities. The flexibility enables us to respond quickly to market demands and attract young people from Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area as well as Asia with more distinctive courses. He also suggests improving the teacher–student ratio and enhancing pedagogies with the funds set up by the University.

'Therefore, we need more talent. This is the biggest challenge we are facing now,' the Chairman continues. 'Human resources are the most important asset of an organisation, and we must provide teachers with a favourable teaching environment, promotion opportunities and job satisfaction.' He also hopes to help solve the problem of space insufficiency on campus, so that both teaching and learning can be enhanced.

Dr Wong advocates strengthening the collaboration between the University and industries. He gives an example: 'There's an institute providing professional and academic courses for managers in the catering industry who have worked their way up from the bottom. We, too, can make good use of existing resources to connect with different industries in society. Taking advantage of our flexibility, we can offer tailor-made courses to suit industries' needs, and at the same time create more internship and even employment opportunities for students.'

At the Creative Arts Graduation Show held earlier, Dr Wong came across a rehabilitation game with VR technology, designed by a student for mild stroke patients. The seasoned engineer in the construction industry came up with an idea — he thought the game was also suitable for use in occupational injury rehabilitation and recommended it to the Occupational Safety and Health Council straightaway. 'Take, for another example, how a student recently gained favour of a driving school with his creative animation; he was invited to produce an animation for teaching driving,' the Chairman says with a grin. 'I think it could also be applied to the teaching of crane operation in the construction industry.'

The many thoughts and plans poised to go ahead need sufficient resources to support. Dr Wong expresses gratitude to the outgoing chairman Mr Wong Yick-kam for maintaining the University's strong financial position, which makes the implementation of projects and new initiatives possible. A veteran businessman, Dr Wong considers optimisation, instead of maximisation, to be the best resource management approach for a self-financing institution. 'Putting our resources to good use can help us reap the greatest benefits,' he emphasises.

Strategic priorities of development

The new Chairman is in frequent communication with the University management, and both are well prepared to make their moves with their strategic plans. The plans are, on the one hand, further developments building on the institution's solid foundation, and on the other, newly explored fields and areas. He summarises the strategic priorities as follows:

Enhance teaching quality and broaden students' diverse learning experience


Establish industry connections and increase student internship opportunities


Promote collaboration and exchanges with the Greater Bay Area


Strengthen the alumni network


Set up an entrepreneurial fund to help young people pursue their dreams


Offer more diversified and affordable programmes to prison inmates


Provide training for local SMEs to assist in business transformation and expansion


Promote parenting education

1. Enhance teaching quality and broaden students' diverse learning experience.
2. Establish industry connections and increase student internship opportunities.
3. Promote collaboration and exchanges with the Greater Bay Area.
4. Strengthen the alumni network.
5. Set up an entrepreneurial fund to help young people pursue their dreams.
6. Offer more diversified and affordable programmes to prison inmates.
7. Provide training for local SMEs to assist in business transformation and expansion.
8. Promote parenting education.

Due to disruptions caused by the epidemic, Dr Wong has relatively few opportunities to meet with students. Yet he is touched by their creativity and advises them not to underestimate themselves. He comments that young people in Hong Kong are known for responding and improvising quickly, and encourages students not to be shy to demonstrate their abilities. 'The University should provide students with more opportunities of overseas exchange and internship, and support their participation in more competitions in order to broaden their horizons and strengthen their self-confidence.'

As an encouragement, Dr Wong borrows from Raymond Chiu Ho-man, Student Organising Committee Chairman of the Creative Arts Graduation Show, a short paragraph of his speech delivered at the opening ceremony: 'Choice is the key to unlocking the future, while creativity is the tool to cuddle it. Let's embrace the future with hope, as the best is yet to come.'


Parting words of Mr Michael Wong: Knowledge creates power, learning enriches life

Mr Michael Wong joined the University Council in 2008 and had been the Chairman since 2016 until his departure this June. He jokingly describes himself as having been a volunteer for 14 years, during which he didn't even have his own office on the campus: 'But for me, this is a very meaningful job.'

The most precious memory

Taking a stroll down memory lane, he finds the moment when the University was officially renamed the most cherished reminiscence in his long journey with the Council. 'Going with the current trend of educational development, we take on a new University title, adopt a new logo and a new motto, and embrace a new identity to nurture students. This is indeed an epochal change, and is a significant milestone in the sustainable development of the University in the higher education sector,' he says.

Mr Wong recalls meeting with a group of student representatives when he became the Council Chairman. 'A female student said that when she told her friend she was admitted to the then OUHK, her friend asked: “Is that a night school?” The student immediately burst into tears when she heard this,' he says. 'I got mixed emotions about her story, which drove me to consider repositioning the University. People in the community often misunderstand that we are still a purely distance learning institution, and some graduates are even looked down on by their employers under such misapprehension. These stereotypes are neither appropriate nor fair to our full-time students.'

While gazing up at the University logo on the outer wall of the campus building, Mr Wong eulogises over the brand new design for its ingeniousness. 'The logo has a modern design and an exceptional charm. The two colours, which are also the main colours used in the logo of the then OUHK, connote a sense of “outshining” and inheritance,' he speaks with excitement. He also commends the promotional video released after the retitling for its infectivity which has increased public awareness of the University.

The proudest achievements

The spanking new image of the institution has fulfilled Mr Wong's strategic goal of boosting the University's reputation and brand image, one of the four key priorities he set out when taking office as Chairman. He is thankful to the Council, faculty and staff for their concerted efforts which have bolstered the University's developments in leaps and bounds. He is also grateful to students for their unwavering support. Nevertheless, he still has a vivid memory of the various challenges he encountered at the time. He particularly takes pride in the University for achieving gratifying enrolment and maintaining financial robustness amid the declining number of secondary school graduates. 'One of the reasons is that the programmes we offer respond to the needs of society and cater to students' interests,' he explains. 'Over the years, we have been providing education in a pragmatic way. Even though we need to be responsible for our own profits and losses, so far we do not need any taxpayer funding, which I'm really proud of.'


Moreover, he takes pride in witnessing the opening of the Jockey Club Institute of Healthcare last year, which marked a big leap forward in the development of our nursing and healthcare disciplines. 'Universities are where we nurture talent to serve society. For instance, about one-third of the nursing staff in Hong Kong have been trained by us,' he says proudly. Earlier Mr Wong received a letter from a member of the public expressing his gratitude for the painstaking care he received from the intern students of our Nursing School during his stay in the hospital. 'The patient was moved, and I am moved too. We see that our students have embodied the nursing spirit of soothing patients in distress and helping those in need. As a member of the MU community, it is certainly something to be proud of.'

Keep learning and shoulder responsibilities

The outgoing Chairman is also deeply impressed by the perseverance and unremitting efforts of our students. He affirms with appreciation, 'Perhaps their performance in DSE examinations was not up to scratch, but their personal quality is by no means inferior to that of students from other institutions. Over the years, our students have been receiving accolades or even championships in public competitions and earning employers' recognition for their work performance.' Although times have changed and the challenges faced by the young people of this generation are different from those of the past, he believes opportunities are still everywhere. 'Competition is indeed fiercer than before but there are plenty of chances. Mainland cities, for instance, give them access to a wide variety of opportunities that the previous generations did not have.'

He laments that the social turmoil we went through a few years ago was a great challenge, but he appreciates the rationality and restraint demonstrated by our students, which did not harm the University as a result. He believes that the University's newly established distinctive brand and its growing reputation, coupled with its time-relevant programmes and continuously improving teaching and learning, will surely give HKMU a promising future. 'I am content to receive letters from the public applauding our students for their attainments, and to hear employers recognising our graduates for their outstanding performance at work. I will be really happy and gratified if I have the opportunity to meet our alumni in the future and see them serving their jobs with heart.'


Mr Wong is full of affection for the University and is deeply attached to it, as his wife is also a member of this big family. 'She has obtained a Bachelor's and a Master's degree from here. Sharing that “my wife is an alumna” makes me feel good,' he explains with a beaming smile. At his invitation, Mrs Wong writes for him his parting advice — ‘knowledge creates power, learning enriches life.’ He concurs that while studying can help lay a solid foundation for future career development, it also teaches us the philosophy of life. Riding on the far-sighted parting words, he encourages everyone of the MU community to 'maintain a broad vision and shoulder responsibilities for society and for the country.'