Professor Chia-Wei Woo (吳家瑋, pinyin: Wú Jiāwěi) was the Founding President of the The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His dedicated efforts included his work in raising considerable funding and recruiting outstanding Faculty for the University; together with Chung Sze Yuen, he created a world class institution, including a top ranked Business School. The HKUST Business School's MBA, EMBA and Executive Education programs are consistently ranked as top in Asia and World Top 50 MBA by the Financial Times of London. He retired in 2001 after 13 years of service and remains President Emeritus as well as University Professor Emeritus.

Professor Woo was born in Shanghai in 1937. He received his secondary education from Pui Ching Middle School in Hong Kong and went to the US in 1955, where he acquired his BS degree in Physics and Mathematics at Georgetown College in Kentucky and his MA and his PhD degrees in Physics at Washington University in St. Louis. Subsequently he taught at Northwestern University and at the University of Illinois, served as Northwestern's Chairman, Physics and Astronomy Department, then as Provost, Revelle College at the University of California at San Diego (where he had pursued post-doctoral work). In 1983, at the age of 45, he became President of San Francisco State University, the first Chinese American to head a major university in the US. San Francisco State University

Since 1964, Professor Woo has published 120 papers and books in various fields of physics, particularly in quantum many-body theory, statistical mechanics, liquid crystals, low temperature physics, and surface physics. Under his supervision, 25 doctoral students and postdoctoral staff completed their thesis and research work.

Professor Woo has received many honors and awards for professional achievement and civic contribution, including Fellowships of the American Physical Society and the California Academy of Sciences; the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship; Honorary Professorships at Fudan University, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Institute of Physics), Shenzhen University, and Peking University; the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award by the United Nations Association; the Golden Key of the City of San Francisco; “Chia-Wei Woo Day” was declared by the Mayor of San Francisco. He was National President of the National Association of Chinese-Americans during 1984-86. He was the U.S. China Olympics Liaison for the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles. In 1991, he received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater, Washington University. In 1995, he received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Georgetown College, and was named an Honorary Citizen by the Municipal Government of Shenzhen. In 1996, he received a Distinguished International Service Award from the University of Minnesota and an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Washington University; and was appointed as an honorary "Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire" (CBE) by the Queen of the British Empire. In 2000, he was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). In 2001, he was awarded "Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur" by the President of the Republic of France.

He has served on Hong Kong Government’s Industry and Technology Development Council and the Board of Overseers for the Institutes of Biotechnology, and was appointed by the Municipal Government of Shenzhen as Senior Advisor. He also serves or served on governing and advisory boards of a number of educational foundations and cultural organizations, including Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong, Shanghai-Hong Kong Council for the Promotion and Development of Yangtze; National Natural Science Foundation of China, Fudan University, Hua Qiao University, and Zhongguancun Science Park (Advisory Committee); Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (Pakistan), World Scientific Publishing Company (Singapore), and China Europe International Business School.

From 1993 to 1996, he was appointed by the Chinese Government first as a Hong Kong Affairs Advisor, Hong Kong Affairs Adviser then a Member of the Preliminary Working Committee, and then a Member of the Preparatory Committee, and was elected to the Selection Committee for HKSAR. He was appointed in 1998 to the Commission on Strategic Development of HKSAR and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

In 2000, he was appointed to the Council of Advisors on Innovation and Technology of HKSAR, and as Chairman of the Committee on Hong Kong - Mainland Technological Collaboration. He has spoken multiple times at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

He serves on several corporate boards, including Lenovo Group Ltd, Shanghai Industrial, First Shanghai Investments Ltd, IDT International Ltd, and Synergis; he is Senior Advisor to Hong Kong's Shui On Group.

Professor Woo is listed in both “Who’s Who in America” and “Who’s Who in the World”.

Preceded by:
New Creation
President of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Succeeded by:
Chu Ching-wu

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