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In Memory of Professor Ma Lin

  • 2017.10.18
  • News
Professor Ma Lin, the second Vice-Chancellor of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), passed away on 16 October, aged 93. Shaw College of CUHKSZ deeply cherishes the memory of Professor Ma.

We are very sorry to inform you that the second Vice-Chancellor of CUHK and the first Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Shaw College Professor Ma Lin has passed away peacefully at Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong on 16 October 2017, aged 93.

Professor Ma obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from West China Union University in 1947 and his Ph.D. from the University of Leeds in 1955. After spending a year in England as post-doctoral fellow at University College Hospital (London) and St. James’s University Hospital (Leeds), he returned to Hong Kong in 1957 to teach at the University of Hong Kong.  His long association with CUHK started in 1964 when he joined as Senior Lecturer and he was instrumental in the establishment of the new Department of Biochemistry.  His outstanding scholarship eventually earned him the Founding Chair of Biochemistry in 1973, and then the Dean of Science.  In 1978 he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University and steered its development until 1987 when he retired after a service of 23 years.


A distinguished biochemist and trailblazing educator, Professor Ma believed that the important missions of a modern university are teaching, research and public service and it is the duty of the university management to strike a proper balance between the three.  His nine-year tenure at the helm was characterized by a proactive leadership and a willingness to canvass views from the academics and other stakeholders.  Under his leadership, CUHK completed the implementation of the recommendations in the second Fulton Report of 1976, established the Faculty of Medicine, launched the part-time degree programmes and the PhD programmes, recruited more talented students with the Provisional Acceptance Scheme, adopted a flexible credit system and strengthened the General Education programmes.  In the same period, CUHK had also gone from strength to strength in terms of building its infrastructure, garnering support and donations for its capital programmes and research, and strengthening its ties with mainland and overseas institutions.


Professor Ma retired in 1987, But his long association with the University continued. He took up the first Chairmanship of the Board of Trustees of Shaw College in 1987-2011 and played an important role in the establishment of the fourth constituent college, the Shaw College, of the University. Professor Ma assisted Dr. Run Run Shaw to finance the development of higher education, secondary and primary education, and medical services in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Professor Ma was also the founding council member of The Shaw Prize, a well-recognized award with the aim to promote scholarship and knowledge.


Professor Ma has also made remarkable contributions to the community. He has served as a Member of the Drafting Committee of the Basic Law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 1985-1990. He was also a Member of the 9th National Committee of People's Political Consultation Conference in 1993-1998.


Professor Ma has received numerous honours and awards, including honours from Great Britain, Japan and Germany, and honorary doctorates from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Sussex, the University of East Asia, the State University of New York and Tianjin University. Professor Ma was appointed a Non-official Justice of the Peace in 1978 and was awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1983. In recognition of the extended and remarkable contribution Professor Ma has made, the Chinese University honoured him as Emeritus Professor (Biochemistry) in 1987. 


Professor Ma Lin is also Doctor of Laws, honoris causa and Honorary Fellow of CUHK.  His life and contributions are captured very well by a sentence in the citation for his Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa: ‘As a scientist, Professor Ma brought to his office a logical mind with a penchant for rational arguments; at the same time, when all was said and done, he was fully capable of taking decisions with the wisdom of one who had a Confucian upbringing.’ 


The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam expressed her deepest condolence to Professor Ma’s passing. Lam: ‘Professor Ma served CUHK for a long time, and his leadership, academic and educational achievement is well recognized by various circles. Professor Ma not only paved the ground of the further development of CUHK, but also made significant contribution to the development of higher education in Hong Kong’.


Professor Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK, paid tribute to Professor Ma: ‘Professor Ma was a scholar and educator of great vision and passion.  He was generous with his guidance of students and young scholars.  His leadership had bequeathed to CUHK a solid foundation for subsequent development on many fronts.  His passing is a sad loss for both the University and the higher education sector.’