A liberal arts education is essential for those wishing to meet the challenges of an ever-changing society moving into the next century.
That was the message from Dr Diana Walsh to former pupils of Wellesley College and prospective students who live in the territory. Dr Walsh, the college president, gave a talk as part of a 12-day tour of Asia.
The college is ranked one of the top schools in the United States, and one of the most prestigious women's colleges in the world. Dr Walsh said a broader education meant studying disciplines that nurtured students to become 'well-rounded' people, who could think well and cope with changes.
'Contrary to the skyscrapers in Hong Kong, which are developing vertically, we believe students should have a mind of horizontal thinking,' Dr Walsh said.
'Take the example of a doctor,' she said. 'A student in a liberal arts college can study different courses - maybe history, political science or philosophy. This makes the doctor more humane than if she only studied medicine.' Dr Walsh added that students could explore their interests in the first two years before taking on a major area of study.
'Students can discover themselves at Wellesley and find out what they really want to do in the future. It is a luxury they cannot get in other colleges or universities.
'Our students are proud of the history of the college. They are confident, and they believe in themselves and what women can do,' she said.
Past pupils include new US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
In recent years, up to 19 students from Hong Kong have been studying at the college at any one time.
'The standard of Hong Kong students is high. They are very well prepared for tertiary education,' said admissions dean Janet Lavin Rapelye.