S.H. Ho College Founding Master Prof. Sun and Mrs. Sun’s Home Journey A Reunion with Alumni
Prof. Samuel Sun, Emeritus Professor of Biology of CUHK and Founding Master of S.H. Ho College, returned to Hong Kong with his wife, Dr. Piera Sun, for a month. During their stay, they attended S.H. Ho College Tenth Graduation Ceremony and witnessed the historical landmark of the College. They also met with College members, staff members, alumni and students in other occasions. Since their retirement in August 2018, Prof. and Mrs. Sun have resided in Hawaii and La Jolla, California. The College is delighted to welcome them back home.
In the Alumni Homecoming Day on 3 December, 2022, Prof. and Mrs. Sun had a reunion dinner with College alumni in Connexion, the staff common room. The alumni graduated from different programmes and some of them are the first cohort of the College. Before the dinner started, Prof. and Mrs. Sun and three alumni talked about their fond memories at the College.
Both Prof. and Mrs. Sun are CUHK and New Asia College alumni. Mrs. Sun and Prof. Sun obtained a chemistry degree and a biology degree in 1965 and 1966 respectively. After graduation, Prof. Sun taught biology in an English secondary school in Kowloon Tong. Later on, as his interest in research was growing, he pursued a one-year special honour degree and a two-year MPhil degree at The University of Hong Kong. He studied a PhD degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in USA. In 1996, he returned to his alma mater taking up the role of head of biology department. In 2006, he became the Founding Master of S.H. Ho College laying the solid foundation for its flourishing development in the years ahead.
S.H. Ho College is home to its students and alumni. Miss Lucy Lu, a College alumna and a psychology graduate in 2015, recalled that she did not know any Cantonese when she first arrived at Hong Kong for tertiary education. She picked up her Cantonese during communal dining, which is held three times a week, and interacted with local students and also people from different places. “In those days, Prof. and Mrs. Sun dwelled in the Pine Lodge with the proximity to student hostels. They often invited us over for afternoon tea. I still remember the carrot cake prepared by Mrs. Sun,” said Lucy.
College alumnus Mr. Derek Lam added, “I am now the resident tutor at another university. Looking back, I just realized how the non-structured education of S.H. Ho College shapes the homelike atmosphere. For example, when we came back for communal dining from Tuesday to Thursday, we saw the same group of people. The seating was close to that in the orientation camp and our bonding was strengthened by this arrangement. The College also allocated resources to help students chase their dreams. What a luxury!” Derek is a 2018 graduate majoring in the Cell and Molecular Biology Programme. In 2016, he joined the cultural and historical trip to Hawaii led by Prof. Sun.
“I stayed in the College from Monday to Sunday. Seeing my peers every day built our trust. When the College was just established, Prof. Sun and Prof. K.B. Wong, Dean of Students at that time, opened up opportunities for us to put our ideas into practice, and let us express ourselves,” said Ms. Hidy Yan, a 2014 graduate majoring in Mechanical and Automation Engineering Programme. “I come from the first cohort of the College. Prof. and Mrs. Sun are close to students. Our close-knit community is good for building up the fellowship.”
Prof. Sun explained that before establishing S.H. Ho College, he visited universities such as the University of Cambridge and Harvard University and took their collegiate system as references. He said, “Communal dining is not compulsory in those colleges. Students take part in it on a voluntary basis but we look for a closer community. We finally came up with communal dining for three times a week at S.H. Ho College. At first, students were skeptical about this suggestion but when they got familiar with the practice, they were happy that meals were arranged and they could meet familiar faces from time to time. The meal charges were not high, just thirty something dollars for every meal up to now. S.H. Ho College had no historical burden. We encouraged our students to explore their talents, and created an atmosphere for them to share their opinions. Students might have different opinions but they learnt to respect one another.”
By the concept of home, Prof. and Mrs. Sun treated students with tenderness and love. “We are a family of three people, with a son only. When we dwelled in the College, students were like our sons and daughters, and as time went by, they became our grandsons and granddaughters. We keep up our relationship like a family,” said Mrs. Sun. What is the key to be on good terms with students and alumni for so many years? “It is all about a sincere heart. You really need to care and trust them. They will know,” replied Prof. Sun. Back in USA, they still receive College alumni with their big hearts, just like the days in Pine Lodge. They also keep in touch with alumni on social media.
College alumni are turning new pages in life by and by, some of them getting married and even having kids. In reunion gathering, Prof. and Mrs. Sun listened to alumni’ developments in family and at work, and shared their wisdom with young people. For Prof. Sun, he often reminds students the importance of embracing dreams, having passion, and being innovative. In his home journey, he is delighted to find that the College alumni have reached his expectations.
Prof. and Mrs. Sun at the Home sculpture of S.H. Ho. College. (Photo credit to alumni Ms. Joyce Ng, Ms. Zoey Cheung, Mr. Cheung Choi Shing and Ms. Xenia Tang)
College alumni celebrate the 80th birthday of Prof. Samuel Sun and Mrs. Sun.
From left: Hidy, Mrs. Sun, Prof. Sun, Derek and Lucy reminiscing their unforgettable moments at S.H. Ho College.
College alumni return home.