The Naming of the Faculty
Ever since its establishment in 1911, The University of Hong Kong has relied on government funding. The Asian financial crisis caused serious government budget deficits and funding for higher education was sharply reduced. Both the government and the university realized that it was crucial to seek external private support. Within the university, many realized that reliance on the government meant survival but not growth. Philanthropists, in particular Li Ka-shing, became the target of fundraisers. In 2005, he made a very generous gift of HK$1 billion to the university; in turn, the university named the medical faculty after him. This stirred up a storm as critics accused the university of selling off its “ancestral shrine.” This controversy subverted the original intent of the gift, but despite this, the philanthropist’s support of the university continued. Today, the university has forged an East-West Alliance consisting of leading global institutions that had benefited from Li’s generosity, and high-level exchanges are conducted on this platform.