U of T alumni and siblings Daisy Chiu-Fung Ho and Lawrence Ho have pledged to match every donation received by the U of T (Hong Kong) Foundation in a new initiative called HK Match. The foundation, established in 1996, provides financial aid to prospective U of T students from Hong Kong.

According to the university, the U of T (Hong Kong) Foundation has provided scholarships to 80 Hong Kong students who have entered 43 different fields of study, with 59 per cent of them pursuing postgraduate studies.

Doubling the impact of every donation, HK Match will allow “the U of T (Hong Kong) Foundation to expand its existing scholarship program so that it fully covers tuition and living costs,” according to the university.

This academic year, total expenses for international students from Hong Kong at U of T are estimated to be at least $59,000, with an upper limit of roughly $70,000. Foundation scholarships currently range from $13,000–22,000. These scholarships are some of the most substantial and competitive of those available to U of T undergraduates.

Established by dedicated alumni and friends from Hong Kong, the foundation named its first scholar in 1996. It runs three scholarship programs — the University of Toronto (Hong Kong) Foundation Scholarship, the Dr. Cheng Yu-tung Scholarships, and the Fung Yiu King Memorial Scholarship — which are awarded annually to up to four incoming undergraduate students and are renewable for up to four years.

Making the campaign possible

Daisy and Lawrence Ho have each donated at least $1 million to U of T’s Boundless campaign, which the U of T (Hong Kong) Foundation is nested under. The Boundless campaign works to realize the university’s three priorities of “excellence and leadership in society,” “innovation and impact,” and a growing “global footprint.”

As a means to nurture this global footprint, the university encourages an international student population, as this introduces “unique perspectives to the classroom, and [helps them] think and engage globally.” As of the 2017–2018 academic year, 19,187 — or 21.3 per cent — of U of T’s enrolment are international students.

Daisy Ho earned her Master of Business Administration at U of T in 1990. “My University of Toronto education pushed me to the limit and brought out the best in me,” she told U of T. Through HK Match, she wants to help as many Hong Kong students as possible experience the same growth and become global leaders.

Daisy Ho holds multiple directorial positions in financial and investment companies, and she recently inherited a portion of her father’s multi-billion-dollar casino resort empire in Macau. She is also on a number of committees and boards, including those of U of T’s Rotman School of Management and of the Canadian International School of Hong Kong. In 2015 she donated $500,000 to establish a research fund for third-year students interested in contemporary Asian studies, specifically studies of China.

Likewise, Lawrence Ho, who received his bachelor’s degree from U of T in 1999, noted that “quality education has never been more important, both to its young recipients and the communities, industries and services that benefit.” Lawrence Ho also thanked past and present donors for “their generosity that enables these [awarded] students to enjoy what is truly a life-changing experience at U of T.”

Casino mogul Stanley Ho’s oldest remaining son and Hong Kong’s 29th richest man, Lawrence Ho began supervising the Melco branch of his father’s empire in 2003.

Scholarship recipients

This year’s U of T (Hong Kong) Foundation Scholar and Fung Yiu King Memorial Scholar Joshua Raphael and 2015 U of T (Hong Kong) Foundation Scholar Huberta Chan both agree with the benefits of international student integration.

Raphael, who has only been in Toronto for two months, wrote to The Varsity, “I have already been opened up to interesting perspectives, cultures and people who I otherwise would not have met and taken in.” As an intended management and finance specialist, Raphael also noted that the work and networking opportunities offered by U of T’s business co-op program will “most definitely put [him] a step higher on the ladder [in terms of his] career goals.”

Praising the matching campaign as “very impressive” and “a certain success,” Raphael added that he “will without a doubt in the future contribute towards [the foundation’s] development and success.”

For fourth-year student Chan, studying linguistics at U of T has endowed her with a new appreciation for linguistic, cultural, and historical heritages. “The University has offered me a second chance to fall in love with my hometown, my culture and civilization, and my mother tongue – Cantonese,” she wrote to The Varsity. She described the foundation scholarships as making an “enormously positive difference” for its recipients.

“Leaving home is always not easy for me… but I never regret [doing] so,” she wrote. “The way I have grown up and [been] inspired here in U of T tells me that this will be one of the best choices I have ever made in my life.”