Prof. David Pong served as the first Master of Choi Kai Yau College, when the college was established in 2014, and retired in 2017. Born in Hong Kong, he was educated in China and Hong Kong before attending university in Britain, earning his BA (Hons) and PhD Degrees from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Before coming to UM, he had taught for 43½ years, mainly at the University of Delaware in the United States, but also in London, Australia (ANU), and at Princeton University, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. An historian of international renown, Prof. Pong also dedicated himself to the promotion of liberal arts education and curriculum reform. He was a consultant in 2009-2010 when UM was planning its first General Education programme, and played a vital role on UM’s General Education Committee in 2014-2015, resulting in a significantly improved programme to take effect from 2017.
During his long career in education, Prof. Pong had earned many awards, research fellowships, and honours, including the “Asianist 2013” award given by the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Association for Asian Studies (USA) in recognition of his life-long contribution to scholarship and service to the profession. He has authored three books, edited five volumes, and published more than 40 journal articles and book chapters.
He is also best known as the Editor-in-Chief of the 4-volume Encyclopedia of Modern China, which received the American Library Association’s Dartmouth Medal Honorable Mention for a reference published in 2009. Prof. Pong is active in many sports activities, loves board games, passionate about music and the arts, and sings in his spare time. He is also an avid gardener and enjoys growing his own vegetables.
As the Founding Master of CKYC, Prof. Pong has formulated the CKYC Tripod, consisting of the motto, “Dare to Think; Care to Act”, the cultivation of global awareness among the students, and the building of a caring community.
In this, he has the blessings of Dr. Jonathan Choi Koon Shum, who, he likes to emphasise, shared in the formulation of the College Motto. Much of the ideas are incorporated into the lyrics of the College Anthem, which Prof. Pong wrote and set to the music of “See the Conquering Hero Comes” from George Frederick Handel’s oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus.