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Generous donation to boost legal research

Generous donation to boost legal research

Global philanthropist Eric Hotung has made a gift of one million Hong Kong dollars (NZ$185,000) to the University of Canterbury Foundation to establish Eric Hotung Research Fellowships within the School of Law. The donation will be used for research and travel with Fellows required to publish significant legal research that will enhance the research profile of the School.

His Excellency Ambassador Eric Hotung CBE made the donation exclusively for the use of the School of Law to underline its high ranking in New Zealand for research.

In a handwritten note to the Foundation, the Ambassador stated that the gift to the Law School was in recognition of the international law work carried out on his own behalf by Adjunct Professor Gerard McCoy QC, who is his personal lawyer and whom he described as an “outstanding alumnus” of Canterbury University.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Davidson described the gift as “invaluable”.

“It will allow outstanding international academics to come to the Law School and to publish leading-edge research under the Ambassador’s name.” Professor McCoy said “Eric is a superlative individual and his munificence is exceptional. I hope that he will continue to look favourably – generously – on our Law School.”

UC Foundation Executive Officer Shelagh Murray said the gift was the largest ever given to the Law School and would greatly boost the research being undertaken in the School.

Ambassador Hotung is the eldest grandson of Sir Robert Hotung, the last of the Merchant Princes and a leader of the Chinese community in Hong Kong. He spent his youth in Shanghai and later travelled to the USA where he graduated with a business degree from Georgetown University in 1951. He began his career in the New York Stock Exchange and later worked for General Motors before returning to Hong Kong to run his family’s wide-ranging business and property portfolio.

In 1965 Ambassador Hotung founded the Eric Hotung Trust Fund with the aim of developing education in Hong Kong and other countries. Following the independence of East Timor in 1999, he established the Hotung Institute for Timor-Leste to help re-build the country, including the provision of infrastructure and coastal shipping services. The East Timor Government appointed him in 2002, Ambassador at Large and Economic Advisor.

The Ambassador recently chartered two DC-10 aircraft to fly 400 tons of medical supplies from England to Sri Lanka, to alleviate the suffering of the tsunami victims. In October 2004 the Ambassador donated a brand new five-storey building to Georgetown University, opened by former president Bill Clinton and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court.

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