Universities in Hong Kong

Persistence helped CityU’s veterinary medicine college break new ground

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 August, 2018, 6:35am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 August, 2018, 6:35am

It’s been a bumpy ride but Hong Kong’s first-ever dedicated college for veterinary medicine is up and running at the City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

When I proposed a veterinary medicine school in 2008, shortly after taking over as president of CityU, the response from our leadership team was positive, but convincing others was a tough sell.

Persuading the government, funding agencies, stakeholders, the media and the general public was like running a marathon. However, our perseverance paid off. Today CityU celebrated the naming ceremony for our Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences and we witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony for The Jockey Club One Health Tower.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, by supporting veterinary education, has shown great vision in promoting scientific and technological innovation. Jockey Club chairman Simon Ip Sik-on was at the forefront of the HK$500 million donation from the club to the university. And Hong Kong citizens have supported the project, according to surveys.

No doubt team spirit within the CityU management and support from the university council, faculty, staff, students, alumni and internal and external advisers were vital. We are also indebted to our 10-year partner, Cornell University, one of the world’s leading institutions in veterinary medicine.

CityU’s cows, ice cream, and a mainland postgraduate centre

Three points are worth stressing.

Firstly, our health is intrinsically connected to the health of animals and the environment at the local and global levels. The “one health” concept, which sees human, animal and environmental health as interconnected, in our six-year Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine curriculum transforms how people look at health and sustainable development today.

Secondly, our veterinary education is exemplary in integrating teaching and research to enhance the quality of student learning. Our researchers teach and our teachers research.

Thirdly, we have added “soulware” to the hardware and software foundation of university education. Soulware means eschewing empty talk and taking action to improve the living environment. We need to inculcate in our students a sense of belonging, dedication and aspiration, in addition to emphasising state-of-the-art facilities and interacting with world-leading scholars.

CityU now has the full support of Hong Kong, including that of the University Grants Committee, announced today. Together we can get to work on preparing world-class professionals for veterinary medicine to fully realise the “one health” mission.

Way Kuo, President, City University of Hong Kong