The School of English Reunion Day on Sunday 5th May was a combination of homecoming and housewarming.
Former students of the Department of English, the Department of English Studies and Comparative Literature, and the School of English, descended on the University in large numbers. Most of them, as far as we know, passed the first test of finding their way to the new Centennial Campus, with a bit of help from our postgraduate and undergraduate guides.
Many alumni began the afternoon with a nostalgic visit to the Main Building, to the scene of the triumphs and ordeals of their student days. Most of them, it’s fair to say, have felt sad that the School has been moved out of the Main Building – which was the original building of the University, built in 1911, and has housed English since its inauguration. But we hope they feel a bit better about things now they have had a chance to visit our new premises in the Centennial Campus.
The visitors were welcomed to a running reception in the School’s seminar room, on the seventh floor of the Run Run Shaw Tower, the new home of the Arts Faculty. Here alumni were able to meet each other, and staff and students of the School. There were refreshments, a display of books published by our faculty, and an extensive photo display illustrating the life of the Department, and the School, and going back as far as the 1950s.
We would love to build up this collection. No doubt alumni have plenty of photos at home from their student days. Could we ask you to dig them out, and send us any that you think would interest or amuse your fellow alumni? You can send them in digital form to firstname.lastname@example.org, or in hard copy to the School of English, HKU, Pokfulam Road. We will scan the hard copies and return them. When you’re sending photos, it would be really helpful if you could add a note of the date (if you can remember), and the names of the people in them.
Visitors were also invited to relive their youth by attending academic lectures, on language and literature. Dr Janny Leung spoke on “Practising the law in two languages”, and Professor Douglas Kerr lectured on “Sherlock Holmes the villain”. Most alumni managed to stay awake during these half-hour talks, perhaps fearful that there would be a test at the end.
There was a full house for the other entertainment, a performance of scenes from Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing by the Shaxbies Players, a drama group of English students and former students directed by Rosalind Wong. The Beatrice and Benedick scenes from the play were performed with panache, in spite of the fact that Benedick was in hospital with a leg injury sustained in a marathon the day before, which required a bit of last-minute improvisation. This performance was in the new studio theatre, and we hope to invite alumni to many more productions in this excellent venue.
Altogether the Reunion Day was a great success: thanks to all our alumni and friends who came to visit. Now, can we hear from you? Please drop us a line at email@example.com. Let us know if you enjoyed the Reunion Day, if you would like it to be an annual event, or if you have any other ideas for alumni events, activities or get-togethers. Do you enjoy reading our alumni magazine online, and do you have any suggestions for future features?
One last thing. We are constantly expanding our alumni database. But there are literally thousands of former students out there, with memories of their HKU days in the Department of English, English Studies and Comparative Literature, or School of English. Please pass the word to any of your friends who are alumni but who are not yet registered with us and don’t know about our alumni magazine and alumni events. Ask them to send their name, and year, to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will do the rest.