Exactly a century ago, two generous philanthropists established the Ho Fook Prize and the Chan Kai Ming Prize for HKU’s three founding faculties (Medicine, Engineering and Arts). To sustain these two historically significant student awards, the two prizes have now been combined and renamed as the Ho Fook and Chan Kai Ming Prize (何福及陳啟明獎). The symbolic awards, apart from manifesting the support of the University from the Eurasian community, marked the legacy friendship between two close friends.
Mr Ho Fook and Mr Chan Kai-Ming (also known as George Bartou Tyson) were both prominent Eurasian figures during Hong Kong’s early colonial years. Mr Ho was a compradore of Jardine, Matheson & Co while Mr Chan was a Morrison scholar and successful business man. The pair crossed paths many times in life. Both of them studied at the Government Central School (today’s Queen’s College) and they later become business partners of Tai Yau Bank. They were appointed to many public offices, including the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Po Leung Kuk. They also both served as members of the Legislative Council and the Court of The University of Hong Kong.
The friends were both philanthropist and were among the earliest donors who supported the establishment of the University. In 1916, each of them donated ￡1,500 for scholarships to be awarded to students of the three earliest faculties. This was a substantial amount of money at the time as the initial sum to erect the first University building was HK$150,000. The donors’ intention was to have the awards to go in pairs to the best students in each faculty: the Ho Fook Award to the best student in the first semester and the Chan Kai Ming award to the one in the second semester.
After the re-opening of the University following World War II, the awards were re-named as Prizes and the number has increased to 22 over the years, benefitting students in nine Faculties. Starting from the academic year 2016-2017, the ten faculties will take turn each year to award the Ho Fook and Chan Kai Ming Prize to a deserving student. These two friends and donors have left an indelible imprint at HKU and the University hopes to continue their remarkable legacy and serve their memory through the historical prize.