His Legacy Lives on – Dr Robert Tam Yik-Fong

Senior staff quarters on Sha Wan Drive.
Senior staff quarters on Sha Wan Drive.
Dr Robert Tam 譚益芳

Born in 1902, Dr Robert Tam 譚益芳 (BA 1930, Hon University Fellow 1996, Hon DSocSc 1998) grew up in turbulent times, with little hope of being able to afford university education. Yet, he was fortunate to receive a government scholarship to study Arts at HKU, where he spent some of his happiest years and forged some of his most lasting friendships as a resident of May Hall. In 2004, Dr Tam passed away at the great age of 103.

After graduating from HKU, Dr Tam returned to Mainland China and offered his services to the country, where he witnessed a land torn asunder, with people suffering from dire poverty and the outbreak of war. These experiences led him to the belief that poverty could be alleviated through education. His vision – to bring education to as many young people as possible – is where he found his philanthropic focus.

Remarkable career success in the banking industry afforded Dr Tam the financial wherewithal to accomplish that vision. For decades, he demonstrated his support of education and love of the University through his trust, generosity and unswerving loyalty. From 1985 to 1988, Dr Tam and his younger sister Ms Tam Wun-Tsun 譚蘊真, who shared the same belief in education, donated HK$11 million to establish the Robert Tam Library Endowment Fund. In recognition of the siblings’ generosity, the University’s senior staff quarters on Sha Wan Drive – Pine Court 松蔭園 and Tam Villas 衡益村, were named after their grandfather Tam Lui-Chung 譚侶松 and father Tam Yik-Hang 譚亦衡.

The Library held a special place in the heart of Dr Tam and in the 1990s he made a further gift of HK$50 million to support the University’s Libraries.
Dr Tam’s love of HKU never faded

In 2016, the University received a legacy gift of HK$35 million from the late Dr Tam and Ms Tam, which contributed to the construction of the Centennial Campus, and the establishment of the “Tam Wun Tsun HKU Horizons Student Enrichment Award 譚蘊真才能拓展獎”.

To honour this gift, the University named a teaching facility at the Centennial Campus as “Robert Tam Conference Chamber 譚益芳會議廳”, which includes the “Tam Wun-tsun Seminar Room 譚蘊真研修室”.

Robert Tam Conference Chamber and Tam Wun-tsun Seminar Room
Robert Tam Conference Chamber and Tam Wun-tsun Seminar Room

Dr Tam’s decision to bequeath his fortune to HKU is a moving testimony to his belief in the power of education and his confidence in his alma mater to nurture leaders who will work for the betterment of the world.

Dr Robert Tam on his 101st birthday (2003)
Dr Robert Tam on his 101st birthday (2003)

Dr Robert Tam (4th left) in a play performed at the Inter-Universities Sports meet of 1930
Dr Robert Tam (4th left) in a play performed at the Inter-Universities Sports meet of 1930

“The Libraries have a key role to play in the education and training of new graduates and support for such a central institution is support for the University as a whole… everyone, including the Hong Kong community, benefits from a strong University Library.”

Dr Robert Tam


At HKU, we are fortunate to have the determined support of a community that believes in the power of education. These benefactors express their love for the University and realises their philanthropic aspirations through legacy gifts.

Create a meaningful and lasting legacy that fulfils your hopes and wishes.

website: www.giving.hku.hk/plannedgiving

January 2021

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