It gives me great pleasure and honour to take up the wardenship of Morrison Hall from February 2017. Following the footsteps and solid foundation laid down by my predecessors, I will continue to cultivate residential hall education to enhance students’ pursuit of all-round personal development. Indeed, Morrison Hall has a glorious past and continues to make history in a diverse spectrum of activities, rendering the Morrisonian a label of pride. In addition, our hallmates are warmly supported by many alumni who now assume or have taken up numerous leadership roles from all walks of life. Morrison Hall is, therefore, uniquely positioned to provide a stimulating atmosphere to foster the advancement of lifelong generic skills such as leadership, interpersonal relationship, communication proficiency, and self-management, just to name a few. The Hall environment also facilitates students to build up their social competency and self-confidence, expand their social circles and engage in friendships of a lifetime. With a balanced mix of undergraduate and graduate students coming from diverse backgrounds, disciplines and cultures, Morrison Hall offers an ecosystem for students to learn how to get along with and respect one another, embrace differences and become responsible global citizens. All these outside-the-classroom interactions add spice and variety to their academic pursuits, which collectively constitute an unforgettable experience to students' University life.
As Warden of Morrison Hall, I will uphold the core values of hall education and ensure that this Hall does not only provide a home away from home, but also offers various opportunities for students to engage, develop and excel in different facets of academic, cultural, social and sports activities.
The Chinese idiom "Having an old person is akin to having a treasure in the family” quoted by my predecessor speaks well for Morrison Hall as we treasure the love and care from our Senior Morrisonians who provide unflagging support to the junior Morrisonians through the mentorship programme. I am truly delighted to have become a Morrisonian myself and I hope to witness the perpetuation of this Morrisonian spirit to generations and generations of proud Morrisonians.
Professor Sydney Tang
Warden, Morrison Hall
The University of Hong Kong
Morrison Hall was founded by the London Missionary Society in 1913. This was the first Morrison Hall, situated in Hatton Road, Mid-Levels, and was the second oldest residential hall of the University of Hong Kong. From its early years, Morrison Hall was known for its academic prowess and triumphs in sport. These qualities gave rise to the Morrisonian Spirit which survived the destructive effects of World War II, and later brought Morrison Hall to its peak in excellence.
Morrison Hall was closed in 1968. However, the esprit de corps and the fascination of Morrisonians with their “second home” paved the way for the building of the second Morrison Hall. Conceived at the Reunion Dinner of Morrisonians on 16 January 1997, the “Campaign for the Re-building of Morrison Hall” was launched by Professor Y. C. Cheng (BSc 1963), the Vice-Chancellor 1996-2000, and received tremendous support from all Morrisonians. Out of their magnificent efforts, and the munificence of many other donors, a new Morrison Hall came into being. The Hall welcomed a fresh generation of Morrisonians in 2005, and now continues in its mission to groom and strengthen future pillars of society with the deeply valued Morrisonian Spirit.
Excellence since 1913 (1913-1940)
In 1910, prompted by the news that a university (University of Hong Kong) was to be built in Hong Kong, a few missionaries of the London Missionary Society (LMS) visited the site of the proposed university. They liked what they saw, and a plan for building a “Christian Hostel for Chinese Students” was formulated to give more strength to the educational and evangelical aims of LMS. An invitation from the University to build a student hostel further encouraged the LMS to carry out the plan. It was not until an immediate loan of $30,000 was made by the Arthington Trust that construction could begin in the August, 1912, and it was located in the plot of land above the old Victoria Battery on Hatton Road.
It was anticipated that the hostel could be ready by the end of July 1913, unavoidably missing the chance of admitting the first batch of university students in September 1912. As reported by Rev. H. R. Wells (1863-1950), only one student was admitted when the hostel was opened. Anxiety over the future of the hostel occupied the LMS missionaries, even though the number of students gradually rose to 22 by 1914. It was originally designed to accommodate 50 residents and this number was not reached until 1928 when the new east wing extension was finished.
The name of the hostel, “Morrison Hall”, was suggested by the LMS in April 1916. The Society settled on this to commemorate Rev. Robert Morrison (1782-1834), the Protestant missionary to China who first translated the Bible into Chinese. It was approved by the University Council on 19 May 1916 as the permanent name of the Society’s new and valuable asset.
The Second World War (1941-1945)
However, here came the World War II. After the Pearl Harbour attack, the debilitating Japanese occupation of Hong Kong from 1941 to 1945 brought complete disruption to the operation of the University. During the early stage of the fighting, Morrison Hall was taken over by the British military as a barrack. Mr. Stanley V. Boxer, Warden 1928-1941, visited the Hall on the 24 December, the eve of the surrender, and reported that it had suffered a certain amount of looting. He visited the site three days later and found that looting had been even more severe. By the end of January 1942, all movable material had gone.
Restoration of Morrison Hall (1946-1969)
In September 1946, the University of Hong Kong resumed classes. The combined efforts of the LMS, the Board of Control, the University and the local community enabled Morrison Hall to be opened again for undergraduates in September 1948. The opening ceremony was held on 9 December and officiated by Sir Alexander Grantham (1899-1978), the Governor of Hong Kong 1947-1958. A new stage in the history of Morrison Hall had begun.
In 1948, Morrison Hall was now able to accommodate 55 residents, nearly a quarter more than its pre-war capacity. Rev. Frank Short took up the position of first post-war Warden. Rev. S. Withers Green succeeded him in 1949, followed by Rev. Dennis Rogers in 1958.
Due to the high operating cost and LMC limited in finances, in the summer of 1966, Rev. Dennis Rogers opened negotiations with the University to let it take over the administration of Morrison Hall from 1st September 1966. The debate finally came to an end and the University reached a decision on the future of Morrison Hall in mid-1968. The University decided to continue the administration and the operation of the Hall until 31 December 1968. The premises were later decided to be handed over to the HKCCCC. In early 1969, all Morrisonians were asked to move to the newly renovated Old Halls.
Rebuilding of Morrison Hall (1993 till now)
After the Reunion Dinner in celebration of the 80th Anniversary of HKU on 8 January 1993, the idea of organizing a “Morrisonians’ Reunion Night” gained unanimous support from Morrisonians. Early efforts of re-uniting Morrisonians provided a strong foundation and a powerful momentum for the campaign to rebuild Morrison Hall in 1997. The new Morrison Hall was at first expected to accommodate 200 students and be completed in 1999. The building was originally to be built on University Drive. Results of a geotechnical survey, however, showed that the site was not suitable. Morrisonians and the University had to look for another spot. In 2003, the site near Flora Ho Sports Centre was selected for building three new halls; one of them was to be the new Morrison Hall. The Topping-out Ceremony of the new Morrison Hall on 12 March 2005 marked the completion of the building. Over 30 Morrisonians attended to commemorate this historic and long-awaited moment. Since the admission of residents began in mid-2005, the new Morrison Hall has been expected to continue the mission of revitalizing the “Morrisonian Spirit” and nurturing new generations of Morrisonians with all-rounded personalities and enthusiasm for the community.
To create a favorable environment for Morrisonians to grow and thrive
To allow Morrisonians with different backgrounds to learn to live together, interact, understand and respect each other
To foster Morrisonians intellectual and personal development within a stimulating and multidisciplinary hall community
To promote the spirit of serving the society
To cultivate a sense of belonging to Morrison Hall, The University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong