Woo Chia-wei

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Professor Chia-Wei WOO
Born 1937 (age 79–80)
Shanghai, Republic of China
Institutions Northwestern University
University of California, San Diego
San Francisco State University
Alma mater Pui Ching Middle School
Georgetown College (BSc)
Washington University in St. Louis (MA, PhD)
Notable students Sudip Chakravarty
Notable awards 1996 CBE
2000 GBS
2001 Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur

Chia-Wei Woo (吳家瑋, pinyin: Wú Jiāwěi), CBE, GBS, JP, was the Founding President of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His work included raising funding and recruiting outstanding faculty for the university. With Chung Sze Yuen, Woo created an institution, including a top ranked Business School, known as the HKUST Business School. The school's MBA, EMBA and Executive Education programs have been consistently ranked as Asia's top programs, and in the World Top 50 MBA programs by the Financial Times of London.[1] Woo retired in 2001 after 13 years of service and remains President Emeritus as well as University Professor Emeritus.

Education & academia[edit]

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/Mathematics at Georgetown College in Kentucky, and his MA degree in Physics at Washington University in St. Louis. He went on to pursue his PhD at Washington University in St. Louis under Eugene Feenberg.[2] Later, 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, U.C. 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 United States.[3]

Since 1964, Prof. 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.[citation needed] Some of his notable students include Sudip Chakravarty who is a professor of Physics at University of California, Los Angeles.


Prof. Woo has received many honours 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.[citation needed]

He was National President of the National Association of Chinese-Americans during 1984–86. He was the US China Olympics Liaison for the 1984 Summer Olympics, held in Los Angeles. In 1991, he received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater, Washington University.[citation needed]


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 a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. 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.

Political career[edit]

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 served on governing and advisory boards of the Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong, the Shanghai-Hong Kong Council for the Promotion and Development of Yangtze, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Fudan University, Hua Qiao University, 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.[citation needed]

From 1993–96, 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, Switzerland.[citation needed]


Prof. Woo 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. His profile is included in both Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.


His son Dekai WU (吳德愷) is a professor of Computer Science and Engineering, and his daughter-in-law Pascale FUNG (馮雁) is a professor of Electronic and Computer Engineering; both are at HKUST.


Academic offices
New institution President of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Succeeded by
Chu Ching-wu
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Gerald Nazareth
Recipients of the Gold Bauhinia Star
Hong Kong order of precedence
Recipients of the Gold Bauhinia Star
Succeeded by
Lee Hon-chiu
Recipients of the Gold Bauhinia Star