Citation For Professor Rosie YOUNG, Tse-Tse



HKSYU The 39th Graduation Ceremony Citation

Professor Rosie YOUNG, Tse-Tse, GBS, JP

Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa

[ A citation written by Mr. Aman SHAH (Associate Vice President (QA)) ]


Mr. President, 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of Professor Rosie YOUNG’s

graduation with a medical degree from the University of Hong Kong. Subsequently,

in 1959, she also obtained her MD degree from that University. In the 60 years since

her graduation, Professor YOUNG has received numerous awards for her exemplary

work in the scientific and medical fields and for her services to the profession and

the community. She was made a Justice of the Peace in 1971, Officer and later

Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1987 and 1996

respectively, and awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star by the Government of the Hong Kong

SAR in 2002. She has also been recognized for her work by educational institutions:

Honorary Fellow of Newnham College, University of Cambridge in 1988, Honorary DSc

conferred on her by her own alma mater in 1995, the then Open Learning Institute of

Hong Kong (now Open University) in 1995 and later, the City University of Hong Kong

in 2006.


Over the 60 years since her graduation, Professor YOUNG has taught an

estimated 6,000 students and is widely referred to as the matriarch and stalwart in

her field of work. From a humble position of a clinical assistant at HKU in 1954, she

rose to the position of professor of medicine in 1974, a position she held until 1999.

Concurrently, she was Subdean and later, Dean, during 1978 to 1984, Pro-Vice-

Chancellor and Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor during 1985 to 1993, and Acting Dean of

Students during 1997 to 1999. During these periods, she was also a member or chair

of numerous committees in the University.


In spite of her heavy schedule at the University of Hong Kong, Professor YOUNG

has displayed boundless energy and enthusiasm in her service to the people of Hong

Kong. Mother tongue teaching was reinforced by the Education Commission when she

was the chairman during 1993 – 1998. Except for the unfortunate stigma for students

from the Chinese medium, this proposal opened up opportunities for schools to decide

what is best for them with funding support from the Language Enhancement Fund.

The Fund was created during her term as chairman of the Language Fund Advisory

Committee (1994 – 1997). School management was another area of reform under

her leadership. Schools were required to include alumni and lay members from the

community in the management of schools enabling greater community participation

in the continuing development of primary and secondary schools.


As the reformist she is, in her role as Chairman of the Licentiate Committee of the

Medical Council of Hong Kong, and as chairman of the Hong Kong Medical Council and

the Working Party on Primary Health Care in Hong Kong during 1986 to 1996 variously,

she dealt with important issues such as strengthening the training of family physicians

and the development of primary health care system. She was also instrumental in

expanding the membership of the Council to include non-medical colleagues and

opening up the meetings to the general public to promote transparency in the

conduct of the Council’s business.


The University Grants Committee also tapped into her leadership qualities when

she was invited to chair the Teaching and Learning Quality Process Review

(TLQPR) in 2002 – 2003. The TLQPR exercise for the UGC-funded Institutions predated

the quality assurance system adopted by the UGC later.


As a teacher and a peer, the attribute most visible to her students, colleagues and

peers was her effort at continuous improvement of her qualifications and professional

expertise. The list of her professional qualifications and membership and fellowship

of international professional bodies is impressive and includes professional bodies

from Australia, the U.S., the U.K. and Hong Kong.


A number of top officials of the Hospital Authority including its chairman and

chief executive have been former students of Professor YOUNG since its inception.

The Honourable Dr. KO Wing Man, the current Secretary for Food and Health of

the HKSAR was her student. The President of the Open University of Hong Kong,

Professor John LEONG who is himself an outstanding educationist, also her student,

says of Professor YOUNG: “She is a purist and a key contributor to the tradition

of a high degree of devotion to the department, the faculty, the University and the



Nor is the success of Professor YOUNG’s students limited to Hong Kong.


Professor Lawrence CHAN, Betty Rutherford Chair in the Department of

Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, who is also the Director of

the Diabetes Research Center and Chief of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology

and Metabolism at that University is himself an accomplished researcher and was

honoured recently with an Honorary DSc for his achievements by the University of

Hong Kong. Professor CHAN, a recipient of other distinguished awards such as the

Heinrich Wieland Prize (Germany) and the Edwin B. Astwood Award of the Endocrine

Society, has this to say about Professor YOUNG:


“I was attracted to endocrinology not just because HKU was an internationally

recognized center for the discipline, but mainly because of Professor Rosie YOUNG

who was my heroine and role model. She was a compleat physician, knowledgeable,

ethical, and compassionate. In addition, she was a wonderful teacher and was easily

approachable by people at all levels…..Armed with an eidetic memory and a sharp

intellect, Professor YOUNG would identify new gems of knowledge that other people

had missed, and by investigating these new syndromes, she would come up with

groundbreaking discoveries on the pathophysiological basis of different endocrine



Professor CHAN adds:


“….Although she was a kind and friendly teacher to her trainees, Professor

YOUNG held herself to the highest standard as a clinician and researcher, and expected

no less from her peers and trainees. It was in this nurturing environment that I decided

to pursue a career in academic endocrinology. I owe everything to Professor Rosie

YOUNG, who has dedicated her life to patient care, research and education!”


The American Society for Andrology presented its highest honour, the

Distinguished Andrologist Award 2013, to Dr. Christina WANG, another former student

of Professor YOUNG. Dr. WANG is Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of

Medicine at UCLA. She has commented as follows:


“I best remember Professor YOUNG when I was a junior faculty at the

Department of Medicine. She was my mentor for many years seeing me through

many trials and tribulations. She is completely dedicated to her profession, her

patients, her students and her trainees. She encouraged me to pursue the best in

the practice of medicine and in searching for answers through reading and research.

She was a model of a superb physician, investigator and teacher always bringing her

experiences and thoughts to the bedside and to the patients.”


Dr. Moira CHAN-YEUNG is the recipient of the prestigious Distinguished

Achievement Award from the American Thoracic Society. She has received many

other awards. Dr. CHAN-YEUNG is now a Professor Emeritus in the Department of

Medicine at the University of British Columbia. She has the following to say about

Professor YOUNG:


“I, and other women in the medical profession, have always looked upon

Professor YOUNG as our role model and inspiration. Professor YOUNG was one of

the very rare women who not only took up medicine as a career but also worked in

a competitive academic setting which required excellence in patient care, teaching,

and research at a time when women’s role was confined to their homes. For a woman

to be recognized in the world of science was not easy at that time; the recognition of

Professor YOUNG’s original research in endocrinology therefore only underscored its

brilliance and high significance.


We have observed as students the long hours she spent in the hospital each day,

almost every day of the week, looking after patients and performing laboratory work

long after everyone had gone home. Her dedication to her patients and her enthusiasm

in her research work has been exemplary to all. A patient teacher, Professor Young

has always shown us, not so much in words but in her action, the importance of loyalty

to the Department, Faculty and to the University. She served selflessly in numerous

committees in many different areas in different capacities for the benefit and welfare

of thousands of students of the University of Hong Kong.


… Professor YOUNG never complained about her arduous work and her energy

for work seems to us self-renewing. She has sacrificed her private life for public

service for the benefit of the people of Hong Kong for which we are all very grateful.”


Mr. President, this compelling testimony to Professor YOUNG’s selfless devotion

as a teacher, clinician, and tireless public servant clearly suggests that she is a role

model that both staff and graduates of SYU could usefully follow especially in the

context of the University’s vision and mission relating to the important qualities of Confucius’ “ideal person”, “Junzi” (君子), i.e.:


• Treat others with respect, always be considerate, kind and benevolent;

• Study/learn with passion and dedication, continually acquiring new knowledge.


Mr. President, on the basis of her outstanding achievements in these roles, I

present Professor Rosie YOUNG for the conferment of the degree of Doctor of Social

Sciences, honoris causa.


Source: December Issue 2013

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