08-01-2006 14:56

Formerly the Vice President of The University of Maryland and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Kung Shain-Dow has dedicated his life to learning, not only of others, but also his own. Recognized as one of the world top 10 biologists in his field, Professor Kung has made important commentaries on the distinction between western and eastern education, and is considered an important education leader.

It is remarkable that today's educator didn't receive any primary schooling himself. Born in Shandong Province in 1935, Kung's early years were interfered by the chaos of war. After 15 years of drifting from one place to another, he went to Hong Kong with his family. His meager beginnings were as a coolie in a cotton mill, striving day and night only to make ends meet. A testimony to the gospel that God helps those who help themselves, Kung decided to aspire for something greater. With little income, he hired a private tutor and spent all of his spare time studying. His endeavors finally paid off in his 15th year in Hong Kong when he received acceptance to study at Taiwan Chung Tsing University. During his first two years in college, he slept merely four hours each day so he could keep up with others. Upon graduation, he was one of the best students in class.

But Kung's pursuit of learning had just begun. After migrating to Canada and receiving his Master's and PhD degrees, he moved to the United States and taught at the University of Maryland for nearly 20 years. In 1991, Professor Kung accepted another challenge - establishing a new university in Hong Kong. The following ten years witnessed Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's emergence into a leading educational institute in the Asia Pacific, and in the world. Although he retired from HKUST, for Professor Kung, this does not mean the end of his learning. Now, at the age of 70, Professor Kung has gone back to the classroom at Peking University as a PhD candidate in Psychology and studies with a mentor 30 years younger than him.

At the same time, with his rich experiences in western and eastern colleges, he is an honorary professor and college president dedicated to improving China's higher education.

Appropriately, Professor Kung is a direct descendant of Confucius. Could it be that the renowned blood of the famous philosopher runs thick 72

generations after? Maybe you'll find the answer in this episode of "Up-Close".

-- Written by Chai Haoran