Alumni in Hong Kong demonstrate U of M’s influence around the world
Hong Kong is a special place for the University of Manitoba. With more than 1,300 alumni, the U of M has more graduates in Hong Kong than anywhere outside North America. Additionally, based on 2013 numbers, about 45 per cent of international students are from Hong Kong and mainland China — a remarkable testament to the U of M’s connection with this part of the world.
It is for this reason, that the university tries to hold regular alumni events in Hong Kong. About 90 alumni attended our most recent event, on December 2, 2014. Many of these alumni are world leaders in fields such as business and medicine and they demonstrate how much talent, genius and influence is represented within the U of M’s entire alumni community.
One such trailblazer is Sir Gordon Wu. In 2013, he donated $1 million to establish the Sir Gordon Wu Graduate Student Scholarships to support our most exceptional graduate students. The U of M’s first cohort of Wu Scholars is doing excellent work. One student is conducting potentially life-saving research on antibiotic resistant E. coli. Another has presented his ideas to Manitoba Hydro, and his work shows promise to enhance electrical systems around the world. The second cohort of Wu Scholars was recently selected, and it is thanks to Sir Gordon’s generosity the University of Manitoba will reap the benefits of their innovation and enthusiasm.
UM Today caught up with one U of M alumnus who attended the alumni reception in Hong Kong. We asked him a few questions how his time at the University of Manitoba shaped his experience in and what he’s doing now. Kenneth C. Y. Chan graduated from the Faculty of Physical Education in 1987. Here’s what he had to say.
1. What brought you to study at the U of M?
It was my father’s idea to send me to Canada for education even though my family wasn’t a rich one. He believed that I could benefit from the advanced education and overseas living experience from Canada. I chose U of M because it had a good reputation while the tuition was affordable.
2. Have you always intended to go back to Hong Kong to work/live? If not, how did you end up in Hong Kong?
Back in the 80s, overseas calls were very expensive and there was nothing like the internet. I really missed my family and friends in Hong Kong but after five great years in Winnipeg and Toronto, I thought it was right for me to go home and to bring what I had learned to start my career over here.
3. How did your experience at the University of Manitoba shape where you are today?
In fact, the experience at the U of M totally changed my whole life. It was a great education and training for a shy Chinese boy who barely spoke much English. Besides getting educated in school, I made some good Canadian friends and could travel from coast to coast in Canada. This great experience made me a confident and independent individual with good communication skills after my unforgettable stay in Canada.
4. What are you doing now?
After moving back to Hong Kong in 1987, I got into the fitness and recreation industry. In the past 25 years, I had opportunities to become a manager for various private clubs, hotels and fitness centres in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China. I was fortunate that those jobs were all related to what I studied in my physical education and recreation degree. Recently, I started my own business in the trading industry as I believed it’s time to have a new challenge.
5. What did you most enjoy at the alumni reception?
As a committee member of the U of M Alumni Association in Hong Kong, I truly enjoy the alumni reception. Throughout the years it has always been a great occasion to meet some old friends from the U of M and it is also a channel to get updates about what’s going on in my second home — Winnipeg!