The president of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has resigned and will leave his post next October, almost a year before his five-year term is due to end.

The HKUST said on Tuesday that Professor Wei Shyy had informed the University Council that he would end his presidency on October 19, 2022, after assuming the role in September 2018.

Wei Shyy
Wei Shyy. Photo: HKUST.

On Monday Hong Kong marked two years since the death of HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok, who fell from a carpark near the scene of a protest. The Taiwanese scholar had called at the time for an investigation into the tragedy.

In Tuesday’ statement, the university based in Clear Water Bay praised Shyy as a “visionary educator.” His leadership helped the HKUST gain local and international recognition for its research, it said, attracting donations, investments and collaboration opportunities from both the public and private sectors.

Shyy and his team also led the way for an integration of the university’s local campus and one in Guangzhou.

“It is my privilege to call HKUST home during the past 11 plus years,” said Shyy, who joined the university in August 2010 as the Provost and Chair Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

“The sense of duty to serve HKUST’s long-term interests and overall standing has guided our thinking and action during challenging times. In that spirit the university will continue to open new horizons,” he added.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Photo: HKUST.

The HKUST said it would soon begin a “global search” for a successor to Shyy, who did not reveal his future plans.

Chow’s death

Shyy had publicly mourned the death of Chow at a congregation ceremony held on November 8, 2019. The professor was seen wiping away tears as he asked people at the ceremony to stand and observe a moment of silence.

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“We just confirmed the tragic news that our student Mr Chow Tsz-lok has passed away,” Shyy told the crowd at the time.

In an email to students, Shyy said the university was deeply saddened by Chow’s death and would offer assistance to his family. He also demanded an “independent investigation” into the death of the student, saying police and other parties should clarify why there was a delay in first aid assistance.

In January this year, the city’s coroner’s court concluded an inquest into Chow’s death, but the five-member jury was unable to pinpoint whether the HKUST student died as a result of an unlawful killing or an accident.

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Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.