Dear Alumni,

Firstly, I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy in these unprecedented times.

When our academic year began in September 2019, our campus was bustling with students, which was in stark contrast to recent times, when almost all lectures, seminars and student initiatives and activities moved online. We are hopeful the campus will be lively and energetic again when the new term begins.

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has put all of us in uncharted territory. No one is immune to the virus and no place is unaffected by the outbreak. I would like to thank our stakeholders, including staff, faculty, students and alumni, for coming together and rising to the challenges presented. We have pioneered initiatives that have allowed events such as student recruitment and the career fair, among others, to go ahead, albeit virtually, while the COVID-19 Student Hardship Relief Fund is helping to provide relief to students suffering from financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

When it came to upholding our high standards of education, we leveraged on our expertise in e-learning to ensure HKUST continued to function at the highest level, while our research teams have been responding to the health threat posed by coronavirus in myriad ways, contributing to global efforts through the development of polymer-encapsulated chlorine dioxide (PECD) antimicrobial coating, portable testing kits, smart fever screening systems and rapid long-distance multi-person body temperature screening systems, to highlight just some of their achievements.

Fresh graduates and students currently planning or about to embark on their careers may feel uncertainty. What might their futures hold? We hope that the establishment of HKUST United, which aims to encourage alumni to support students in whatever way they can, might provide them with advice, confidence and opportunities.

Our alumni consistently find ways to inspire all of us at HKUST, not least three of our graduates who were included on this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list. We speak to them about their journeys to entrepreneurship and how they have handled the global pandemic, each of them showing admirable resilience and seeking out opportunity amid adversity.

The rest of 2020 will no doubt bring further challenges. Let’s learn, invent and be open-minded and supportive of each other during this tough time. Together, we will turn difficulties into our collective and valuable life experience. Let’s unite so we can come back stronger.

Wei Shyy