The phrase “Once a Lingnanian, always a Lingnanian” perfectly encapsulates the spirit shared by generations of Lingnan alumni. A prominent figure among them is Dr Patrick Wong Chi-kwong, Chairman of the Court of Lingnan University, often seen at university events.


Patrick's association with Lingnan University extends beyond his role as Chairman as he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Lingnan Education Organization and is the Sponsoring Body Manager of the Dr Chung Wing Kwong Memorial Secondary School. His unwavering commitment to Lingnan means that the university occupies much of his life and energy, even in retirement.


Patrick’s deep affiliation with Lingnan goes back to his student days. Reflecting on his time at the university, he credits his enriching experience to esteemed professors such as Chan Cham-chuen and Leung Kan-nang in the Chinese department. Given the opportunity, Patrick confidently declares that he would choose Lingnan University again without hesitation.

Dr Patrick Wong Chi-kwong, Chairman of the Court of Lingnan University, describes his three-decade bond with Lingnan and Lingnanians to the Alumni Relations Team.

Specific goal: fearlessly crossing boundaries to become a solicitor

It is often said that teachers play an influential role in shaping individuals' lives. This rings true for Patrick, whose was lucky enough to have several exceptional tutors. Despite not standing out academically initially, he was fortunate enough to encounter supportive teachers at various stages of his education, particularly, a maths teacher at primary school, who inspired him to excel in the subject.


Moving to an English-medium instruction (EMI) school, Patrick struggled with the language and made relatively slow progress, but in Form 4, a remarkable teacher’s innovative teaching methods and motivational approach significantly helped improve his English skills. Consequently, he achieved a grade A in Mathematics, C in English, and E in Chinese in the public examinations. Initially, he had planned to pursue further studies in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Studies at another tertiary institution, but, a chance encounter with an inspiring student leader, Mr Lui Wai-biu, still a good friend of Patrick’s, from the Chinese Department of Lingnan College changed everything. He finally enrolled in the Chinese Department and spent a total of five years at Lingnan College in the 2-2-1 Scheme.


In the interview, Patrick emphasised his desire in his youth to give his family a better way of life, and worried that studying Chinese might not offer many career prospects, so he took other courses to obtain a degree related to English. After graduation, he worked in distance education, and later became a Community Relations Officer in the ICAC. Studying part-time, he earned a law degree from the University of London, and then went to the UK for the final examination for solicitors in England.


"As a student proficient in both Chinese and English, I saw the Law as a viable professional path," Patrick says, to help his family. "At that time, amidst a political tempest, it seemed everyone was vying for internationally recognised qualifications to enhance their competitiveness. I decided to take the final examination for solicitors in the UK." Before leaving, he was interviewed by Johnson Stokes & Master (now Mayer Brown), a prestigious law firm, and when he arrived in the UK, he was asked to join them as a trainee solicitor on his return.

Becoming a partner in a law firm in three years

The legal profession usually hires fresh graduates, which initially placed Patrick at a disadvantage as he entered the field five years later than his peers. However, his dedication and hard work eventually paid dividends, and he acknowledges "The traditional legal sector places a significant emphasis on a candidate's English proficiency. Given my grasp of English, coupled with my foundation in Chinese, they decided to give me an opportunity."


He chose a path less travelled by local lawyers and joined the firm's corporate finance branch. The timing coincided with China's entrepreneurial transformation and Hong Kong's rapid growth as an international financial centre, presenting both challenges and opportunities. "Although I was considered a mid-level solicitor in terms of age, my experience was akin to that of a junior lawyer," Patrick explains. "I am often recognised for my communication skills, which helped earn the trust of clients." Patrick highlighted two reasons for his success. Firstly, many of his younger colleagues, despite their impressive academic accomplishments and outstanding English language skills, showed little interest in work related to Mainland China, which he saw as an opportunity to deepen his understanding of modern China, a topic he is passionate about. Secondly, at that time China's reform and opening-up had progressed from the initial stage of attracting foreign enterprises to state-owned enterprises "going global and learning to follow international rules. Coincidentally, I was primarily involved in securities financing and mergers and acquisitions of listed companies, which brought me many opportunities.”


Thanks to his exceptional abilities, Patrick was entrusted with a heavy workload. In his first year as a partner, he led multiple projects, and was often away on six-to-seven-day business trips. He recalls once meeting a foreign solicitor who was on his way to the airport, leaving Hong Kong and returning home because there was not enough work. This made him determined to be grateful and, despite the challenges, Patrick persevered, going from one milestone to the next, while also building a close-knit family with his wife, a fellow Lingnan College alumna.

Dr Patrick Wong Chi-kwong was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws by Lingnan University in 2023, and delivered an address on behalf of other honorary degree recipients at the conferment ceremony.

Upholding the red-grey spirit of Lingnan for 30 years

A proud Lingnanian, Patrick has always been deeply moved by the red-grey spirit of passion and determination in his fellow Lingnanians, and it was this spirit that persuaded him to agree when senior alumni Dr Wai Kee-kau and Mr Tse Kai-yui, friends of his teachers, asked him to dedicate over 30 years to the Lingnan Education Organization and to the University itself. He jokes that both the Lingnan Education Organization and Johnson Stokes & Master gave him a similar feeling, as they provided great opportunities and he had to work with a team. In his role as Chairman of the Court of Lingnan University, Patrick wholeheartedly embraces the responsibility of fulfilling the Court's duties, recognising the shared expectations that Lingnanians have from the institution, which resonate with his own.


Today, as Lingnan moves towards becoming a research-oriented liberal arts university, Patrick understands that continuous innovation is necessary to carry forward the spirit of the past, and reflects that the former Lingnan University established scientific and medical programmes in Guangzhou, crucial for it to evolve into a comprehensive university. A few years ago, the Lingnan Education Organization supported the introduction of data science-related fields, and now Patrick is delighted that Prof S. Joe Qin, the President of Lingnan University, is developing this, and expresses his full support.

Under Patrick's leadership, the Lingnan Education Organization supports the first LingArt Programme on the Promotion and Inheritance of Chinese Culture to enhance understanding and appreciation of the rich and diverse heritage of China among student community.

Encouraging students to excel in languages

Patrick encourages students to improve their language skills in their first one or two years at university. He points out, "The learning resources in university are significantly different from secondary school. Students gain access to a wealth of learning resources, a diverse pool of exceptional teachers, and the chance to engage in overseas exchanges and interact with students from various countries. This environment provides ample time and opportunities for students to enhance their language proficiency.” He believes that academic qualifications are merely an entry ticket to the workforce, where graduates have equal opportunities to show their capability.

Slowing down in life since 2015

Several years ago, Patrick embarked on a new journey after leaving his full-time career as a lawyer. He began to enjoy a more leisurely lifestyle and a slower rhythm, and wrote a poem, shown below in Chinese, reflecting this newfound appreciation for tranquility, which he showed to his circle of friends. Today, even though he has returned to a busier schedule, he continues to find joy in the challenges and opportunities that add vibrancy and richness to his life.


慢活尤其快活, 來之則與安之;
得醉由他一醉, 此時不樂何時?
慢活中的 Patrick