WHEN Hong Kong Baptist College officially becomes Hong Kong Baptist University next year, students will be even more steeped in the ''whole person'' education philosophy. These words came from the college president, Dr Daniel Tse, during the institute's 34th commencement (third session) exercise at the Academic Community Hall. Governor Chris Patten, as Visitor of the College, presided over this last of three sessions which saw 1,350 undergraduates and postgraduates in attendance. With the college on the doorstep of change, Dr Tse took both a retrospective and prospective approach. The process of fighting for university status had been a long and arduous one, he said. ''Not a few teachers, students and early supporters left the college because they were unable to face the test of an uncertain future. ''We had many requirements to fulfil before we were proclaimed a university. But as the wise Chinese sage Mencius said, 'When the heavens are about to bestow a great mission upon man, his sinews and bones must first be tried, his body and flesh starved .. .','' said Dr Tse. He said the new name was a consensus reached by the majority of teachers, students, alumni and the college's supporters in the community. ''It not only reflects the root from whence we came, it also advances the sense of belonging for our alumni as it demonstrates our determination to pursue the concept of the whole person education adopted when the college was founded. ''The word 'Baptist' carries with it the connotation of 'immersion' and with that, the concept of total commitment. Our 'whole person' education philosophy also professes the same idea.'' This means students should be totally involved, in heart, mind and spirit, with their university education, he explained. ''While on campus, they should strive to develop their intellectual, moral and spiritual capacities, in addition to their physical, social and communication skills. ''At the end of the three years, our students should not only have the academic and professional foundations, but also be ready to continue to develop into all-round leaders with a sense of the times coupled with a sense of justice.'' Without lofty ideals like these, the best results could only be mediocre, Dr Tse said. Dr Tse then reassured this year's graduates that the legal standing and privileges accorded to their present degree and the academic standing inherent in it would not be affected by the title of this institution. ''The only difference is, a degree awarded by a university has a better ring to it.''