Boston College alumni, parents, faculty, and friends of the University gathered for the first-ever BC Global Forum: Asia in Hong Kong this past weekend. The forum included a number of different events and over 100 members of the BC community. The event was meant to celebrate the achievements of BC’s Light the World campaign, and honor the ongoing Jesuit legacy in Asia.
The delegation from BC consisted of University President William P. Leahy, S.J., five senior administrators from the Office of University Advancement, and three members of the Board of Trustees.
“The ultimate goal is to see BC develop a truly vibrant, dynamic, and global alumni community that supports BC students studying overseas, and the University,” Ellen Sullivan, executive director of University Advancement, said in an email.
The Light the World campaign, which launched in 2008 and is on track to reach its $1.5 billion dollar goal by the end of the 2015 calendar year, also had the goal of increasing BC alumni engagement throughout the world.
“This event was an enormous step forward,” Sullivan said.
Of the almost 10,000 BC alumni living outside the U.S., about a quarter of them reside in the Asia.
“This honor really belongs to all of you, because you have all done so much in your own way to contribute to this great University.”
Sullivan said the event was meant to allow international alumni to be more involved in the life of the University. The event drew alumni from 13 cities across China and all over the Asian Pacific region.
“Hong Kong was selected in recognition of the strong historic ties that bind the Boston College of today with the legacy of the early Jesuit missions to China of nearly 500 years ago,” Sullivan said. “Modern Hong Kong is a vibrant global crossroads, and is an attractive destination for such a convening.”
A gala dinner was held Oct. 15 to gather members of the BC community, and to present BC’s President’s Award to Dr. Victor Fung and his wife, Julia.
The award, established in 1996, recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves both personally and professionally, and exemplify the University’s motto, “Ever to Excel.” Fung, who is the group chairperson of the Fung Group and honorary chairperson of Li and Fung Limited, received the award alongside Julia, who chairs the Fung Hon Chu Education Fund, in recognition of their lifelong commitment to education.
“Gratitude is one of the great virtues in our Catholic faith and it’s important that we as humans understand that to be grateful and to give to others is a calling that each of us has,” Leahy said to the BC Chronicle. “So, gratitude to you, Julia and Victor, for what you have done and—through you—what others have been enabled to do.”
Fung, whose son, Steven, graduated from BC in 1999, was distinguished as Businessman of the Year in 2005 by Forbes Asia, and has contributed to the promotion of Catholic and Jesuit education in Asia, particularly in his home city of Hong Kong.
“This honor really belongs to all of you, because you have all done so much in your own way to contribute to this great University,” Fung said. “I know one of the very important long term objectives of Boston College is to reach out to the global community, and the fact that you’re doing this in Hong Kong now really symbolizes your own desire to reach outside ofBoston and North America.”
The next day, attendees of the forum participated in a leadership roundtable featuring George Yeo, former foreign minister of Singapore and a member of the Vatican Counsel for Economy, a panel chosen by Pope Francis. The forum commenced later that evening with a dinner hosted Herbert Chang of the class of 1988, whose son Herbert is a junior in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, and was attended by Leahy, the BC delegation, and about 25 parents.
“[The forum] was designed as what we hope will be one in many efforts to increase the university’s global ties,” Sullivan said.
Featured Image Courtesy of George Yeo