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Alumni Stories

Honouring a Teacher and Mentor

YC Cheng Scholarship

Professor Y C Cheng

鄭耀宗 BSc 1963


Professor Philip Wong

黃漢森 BSc(Eng) 1982


Professor Lai Pui-to

黎沛濤 BSc(Eng) 1981; PhD 1985


Dr Kevin Chau

周顯良 BSc(Eng) 1980


Dr Hung Kwok-kwong 

洪國光 BSc(Eng) 1982; PhD 1987


Dr Lim Hong-seh

林方世 BSc(Eng) 1981


Dr Liu Zhihong

劉志宏 PhD 1990


Dr James Ma

馬志堅 PhD 1992

To express their gratitude towards their mentor and teacher Professor Y C Cheng 鄭耀宗 (BSc 1963), former HKU Vice-Chancellor (1996-2000) and past Dean of Engineering (1987-1989), a group of alumni initiated a donation to establish the YC Cheng Engineering Scholarship last year. It will support Engineering students to participate in overseas learning.

The group comprises Professor Cheng’s former postgraduate and undergraduate students, and visiting scholars who were mentored by him. Several supporters have benefitted from international opportunities made possible by Professor Cheng’s mentorship.


Professor Philip Wong, one of the donors, told us his personal story at the Scholarship Presentation Ceremony,


"The philosophy of Professor Cheng’s education: he is adamant about providing opportunities for students to try, to fail and to learn from the experience. I can relate to that, from my own personal experience:


During my final year project, I proposed to Professor Cheng that I would fabricate in a ten-transistor circuit, an exclusive all logic gate.


Professor Cheng approved my proposal and soon I started designing the mask and learning about transistor fabrication. Little did I know at the time that HKU had never fabricated a single transistor.


For those of us who knew the rules of probability, even if the transistor yields were 80%, for ten-transistor circuits working together the chance of success is 10%. So I went ahead as I didn’t know such things were not possible. Soon I learnt transistor fabrication. But the amazing thing is at the time, HKU didn’t have the right equipment.


Professor Cheng arranged for me go to Chinese University, fabricated the mask for me, and arranged for me to visit the Faculty of Medicine so I could use the scanning electron microscope to examine the chips being made. And he bought furnaces. I even helped push the furnaces in place in the relevant building. At the end of course, the ten-transistor circuit didn't work but I managed to make the first transistor at HKU.


Undeterred, Professor Cheng suggested I should make a presentation at a local conference. He showed me how to make a professional presentation and this is a skill and learning that I still use today some 30 years afterwards.


So from this example and many other such examples from us alumni can relate, it shows that Professor Cheng really has high expectations for his students, He allowed me to try and fail, even though he definitely knew ahead of time that my project was not going to be successful. But he provided opportunities for me to try things out, and learn from the experience, and opportunities to show off my work, show me how to make presentations. And for this, I am really eternally grateful.


What he provided is not only the opportunity to do research, but also the opportunity to gain international experience."


Professor Cheng also shared some thoughts at the Ceremony,

“I firmly believe in education, as education can change one’s life. It can also enable us to accomplish whatever vision and mission we have. 

We should all try our best to make use of our talent to make contributions to society, no matter how big or small. We only live once. Someday, when we look back, we should be satisfied that we made a tiny footprint to help others.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my students and the University for making this Scholarship happen. Without scholarships, I would not have been able to receive the education that I had back then. This Scholarship will enable outstanding Engineering students to broaden their horizons and realise their dreams, I am sure that they will all benefit tremendously from these learning experiences.”



See this story on HKU Giving Website & Faculty of Engineering Website

  • YC Cheng Scholarship
  • Prof YC Cheng
  • YC Cheng Scholarship