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Professor James Lam

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Home > Introduction > History

50 Years of Mechanical Engineering Curriculum and Still Going Strong

With the appointment in 1912 of the first professor at HKU, Professor C.A. Middleton-Smith, who was a chartered mechanical engineer, Mechanical Engineering was taught amongst the earliest curricula of the University. Some of the earliest alumni include 劉仙洲 (曾任清華大學第一副校長) and 石志仁(中國科學院技術科學部委員) who started to enroll in our program in 1914 and 1918, respectively. Despite the long history of Mechanical Engineering education in the University, the Department of Mechanical Engineering was only formally established in 1960. Hence, a quick review on the major milestones in the development of the department in the last 50 years would perhaps be refreshing for alumni, friends, parents, students and teachers of this big family.

    The Duncan Sloss Building.
  1. Degrees awarded – Until 1988, the first degree in engineering was called Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSc{Eng}). Since 1989, the name Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) has been adopted. Before 1967, only three grades of honours classification were used (first, second and pass). In 1968, the Second Class Honours was split into the upper and lower divisions. The Third Class Honours was introduced in 1980.
  2. Higher degree by research – The first PhD in Mechanical Engineering was awarded in 1970 to Dr. Poon Kwan Leung, with MPhil incorporated in the same year. MSc degree followed in a few years. The first MPhil degree to female student in the Faculty was awarded to Yeung Shuk Wah in 1974 from the Mechanical Engineering programme.
  3. Student Composition Fees – HK$ 1,150 (1961); 1,500 (1971); 2,300 (1981); 10,000 (1991); 42,100 (2001-).
  4. Building – Early days: The Ho Tung Workshop and Peel Engineering Laboratory. Remond Building was added in 1971 at a cost of $860,000 (renamed Yam Pak Building in 1996). In 1983, Haking Wong Building became the location for major teaching and research activities of the Faculty with a total floor area of 17,264 sq.m, partially funded by a generous donation of 6 million from Dr. Haking Wong.
  5. Number of full time teaching staff – 11 (1970); 19 (1980); 25 (1990); 24-25 (2000-).
  6. Professor Sean Mackey, Dean of Engg and Arch (front row, fifth from left) and Mr. W. Smith, Head of Department (front row, third from right)
    Professor Chow with some graduating students in late 70's
  7. First female student to accomplish a First Class Honours standing – 1986. In 1988, only 1 out of 92 students in the Department is female. Today the proportion is around 1 out of 5.
  8. Heads of Department (period of headship)
A photo of current and former heads of the Department, taken in the spring dinner 2003. From left to right: Professors Ko, Chwang, Tan, Duggan and Chow.

Mr. W. Smith (1961-1966 )

Professor H.C.H. Gurney (1966-1973 )

Professor E.A. Bruges (1973-1982 )

Professor C.L. Chow (1982-1990 )

Professor N.W.M. Ko (1990-1991 )

Professor A.T.Y. Chwang (1991-1999 )

Professor B.J. Duggan (2000-2002 )

Professor S.T. Tan (2002-2011 )

Professor Y Li (2011- )