On the morning of June 29, 2018, Mr. Li Ka-shing officiated at the Shantou University Commencement Ceremony for the last time in his role as Honorary Chairman of Shantou University. In a moving address, Mr. Li urged graduates to stay logical, stay ethical, stay honest and help others to achieve a full life while furthering one’s own humanity.
It has been a particularly memorable year for Shantou University. As Mr. Li steps down, he passed the torch to his son Richard, who with the Li Ka Shing Foundation colleagues, will carry on Mr. Li’s lifelong mission and vision to advance education.
This year marks the 17th consecutive year that Mr. Li has attended the Shantou University commencement ceremony. All of the university officials, council members, guests, faculty members, parents and teachers gave Mr. Li a thunderous round of applause as a show of appreciation for his commitment and contributions to STU.
Mr. Li is confident that the students are “blessed with monster talent, and they’ll do amazing things.” They can unleash their talents to follow their dreams, without waiting for a rising tide.
Mr. Li also asked how they would view the world. “Could you see beyond yourself? In all our Do good and Be Good promises, the selfish, callous man sees a different world from what the scrupulous and benevolent man sees; are you Prince Charming or Prince Harming?”
Mr. Li advised students on the power of humility. “The thrivers focusing on actionable changes understand that there is a key that empowers them greatly. Humility. Humility is rejuvenating, enriching, emboldening. It safeguards you from the faults of a culture of entitlement steeped in pretentiousness, arrogance and hubris. People with intellectual humility, who are humble by nature, tend to be more open-minded and potent problem solvers, since they recognise that their own opinions might not be the only valid option. Humility, curiosity and openness are the elixirs to a fulfilling life.
“If you want to change the world, a functioning conscience matters as much as having talents. At its core, the idea of purpose is the idea that what we do matters to people other than ourselves. It will differentiate you between being a problem solver or the problem, an inspiring human or a one dimensional whip-lashing bully.”
Mr. Li recalled, “38 years ago, where we are now was once a swamp, many mocked me that this is but a fool’s dream, I believe then, as I believe now, that only through education can we fulfill the promise we hope for the future.”
Although he is stepping down as Honorary Chairman, Mr. Li is still determined to don a new set of armour every day, to think, feel and act, to keep searching for variables of value helping others to achieve a full life. In closing, he said, “Today you are proud to be part of Shantou University. Tomorrow Shantou University will be proud to be part of you.”
More 2,600 graduates received their degrees at the ceremony. The University has 22,000 students and 110,000 alumni (including continuing education), with medical students accounting for approximately 38%. The Foundation has granted over HK$10 billion to support the continuing development of Shantou University.
About the Li Ka Shing Foundation
Established in 1980, the Li Ka Shing Foundation (LKSF) has invested over HK$20 billion to work on education, medical services and research initiatives globally. In 2006, Mr. Li described his philanthropic effort as akin to having another son in the family. He called for a paradigm shift in our Asian culture of giving, through apportioning more of our wealth and means towards social capital so that we could bring forth great hope and promises for the future.