Alumni Linkage — OU People

Alumni Communication & Support Alumni Linkage Past Issues January 2021 Issue Alumni Linkage — OU People

The OUHK is where the children of the Lau family saw their father complete his university education, and where the father attended his children's graduation ceremonies. With two generations of OUHK alumni, the Lau family are witnesses to the University's transformation over the past 30 years. Back in 1990, Lau Kim-man was a salesman of electronic equipment. In order to climb the promotion ladder, he enrolled in a distance learning programme at the then Open Learning Institute to study for a Bachelor's degree in applied computing. This marked the beginning of the family's cross-generation connection with the University. Two decades later, Kim-man's son and daughter both studied the OUHK's full-time programmes and graduated in 2013 and 2017 respectively. His elder son Edison, who started teaching at the alma mater in 2014, is now a lecturer of the Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administration. During these years, Kim-man served as chairman and executive member of the Alumni Association of the OUHK for 14 years. He fondly remembered, 'When my daughter graduated, we came back to the campus to take family pictures. It was a truly memorable moment when we took photos with the University's management.'

Witnessing the growth of OUHK from different trajectories

Distance learning students are often working adults. Some are even caregivers in the families. Kim-man was among our first generation of distance learning students. He still vividly remembers the midnight oil burnt while studying and the hardships endured over his 10 years of study. 'The pre-exam stress drove me crazy. My son was still a little boy back then, and I had to work on my assignments while taking care of him,' he recalled. With the greatest perseverance and discipline, Kim-man eventually obtained his Honours Bachelor's degree in 2000 and was promoted to manager. He later made a career move to the information technology industry, and furthered his studies at the OUHK with an MSc in Information Technology with Internet Applications.

Edison enrolled for our full-time Bachelor's degree programme in business administration in 2010. Back then, the University had been offering full-time programmes for nearly a decade and had moved to its permanent campus in Ho Man Tin for a long time. He saw his father studying very hard by distance learning during his childhood, and he frankly admitted that he didn't realize the other side of the OUHK until he became a full-time student. 'Apart from learning, there was also a wide array of student activities. My university life was no different from those of my peers studying at other universities.'

Edison still recalls his father's late-night studying: 'Dad has always been very diligent, disciplined, and determined. I have much to learn from him!' He was inspired by his father's relentless pursuit of knowledge. When Kim-man earned his Master's degree in 2006, the secondary student thought, 'I can do that too!' Edison eventually attained his Master's degree with distinction and became a member of the International Honour Society Beta Gamma Sigma.

Staying connected to the alma mater to pass on the torch

When Edison joined the University as a teacher in 2014, his father was quite surprised, 'I thought he would become a businessperson.' Indeed, as Edison chose to study business, he did expect to build a business career and he started it with working in a bank. The decision to become a teacher came from his attachment with his alma mater. He explained, 'I was “born” at the OUHK and I do hope to help my fellow students. I am a good example to show them that OUHK students can be outstanding too!' Edison always unstintingly shares his experiences in learning and job seeking with his students when they encounter questions about studies and career prospects. As a faculty member, Edison has witnessed the robust development of the University, which now offers its students a wide range of comprehensive programmes and ample internship and exchange opportunities. 'At Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administration, for example, high-potential students are selected to join an elite programme, through which they learn more about the business world and society. Such exposure is particularly helpful for enhancing students' personal development and employability,' he elaborated. Edison also teaches distance learning programmes, and from time to time he seeks Kim-man's advice, hoping to understand more about the students' needs.

As a 'veteran' OUHK alumnus, Kim-man has established a long-lasting link with the University. 'Before graduation, I gritted my teeth and persisted in my studies. After that, I took part in running the Alumni Association and have benefited much from doing so. It also helped me stay connected with the alma mater.' Kim-man served as the first Vice-chairman of the Alumni Association for two years, which went on hiatus for a few years afterwards. Joined by other enthusiastic alumni, Kim-man reactivated the Alumni Association in 2008 and served three terms as Chairman. 'OUHK graduates need a platform to gather together, continue our connections with the University, and build a network that helps strengthen our links with society,' he added.

This father-son duo has personally witnessed the various stages of the University's development, from the 'floating classrooms' of the early days, and the completion of the Main Campus and Jockey Club Campus in Ho Man Tin, to the recent opening of the Jockey Club Institute of Healthcare. They are glad to see the continuous expansion of the OUHK. 'We will continue to support the University's development and sincerely hope to see a balance in caring for students of different study modes,' said Kim-man.