Honorary Conferrings Speeches Archive

    at The Devere Hall, Student Centre, UCC

  • 16 Jun 2016







PROFESSOR JOHN O’HALLORAN, Vice President for Teaching and Learning, in

University College Cork on 16 June 2016, on the occasion of the conferring of the

Degree of Doctor of Education, honoris causa, on TANG LIJUN

Vice Chancellor of the NUI, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,


In October 2015, Ireland was officially designated as a ‘country of honour’ for 2016 at the Chinese Education Expo in Beijing, China. I, along with other colleagues from University College Cork, accompanied our Minister for Education at that time, Ms Jan O’Sullivan, to that Expo where Ireland was given an opportunity to increase massively the awareness of Irish higher education institutions amongst the Chinese public.  Central to UCC’s and Ireland’s success in building strong relationships with Chinese Education system is Dr Tang of the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, who we honor here today.


The scale of Beijing’s educational ecosystem is perhaps hard for us to comprehend in Ireland. Beijing currently has a resident population of 21.14 million and is home to 89 universities and colleges, 590,000 college students, and 67,000 lecturers. The city has 1,683 primary and secondary schools that have a total of 1.3 million students and 110,000 teachers. In addition, Beijing has 1,426 kindergartens for 360,000 pupils and 32,000 teachers. Recent education initiatives include the “Beijing Digital School”, set up last year. As part of the ‘digital school’ courses taught by top Beijing teachers are recorded and put on the internet or television, with free access given to all students and their families.  Central to leading and developing this education ecosystem is Chairman Tang.  This afternoon, we express our gratitude for his generous support, past and future, by honouring Dr Tang in his personal capacity as an accomplished and outstanding leader and innovator.


Dr Tang’s career is characterized by one of a profound sense of duty and his total commitment to upholding the highest traditions of public service. Those who have had the pleasure of working with Dr Tang consistently state that his energy, dedication and passion for excellence are contagious, in pursuit of educational excellence and reform- education as both an ecosystem for his city of Beijing and also for the individual embarking on life long learning.


Dr Tang was born in Qian’an, Hebei Province, People’s Republic of China. He graduated with B.S. degree (1983) from Beijing Normal University (BNU), followed by a D.E and then a D.Ed from the same university.  His research interests are in Consumer Economy and Management, Educational Economy and Management, Intermediary Organization, and Management and Marketing Theory and Method.  He has enjoyed teaching Undergraduate and Graduate Courses on Consumer Economy, Management and Marketing, and Economic Operation and Management.


Among his major projects has been one to undertake Research on ‘Business Education Structure and System; 9th Five-Year Plan of Beijing’; and another ‘Beijing Consumer Demand Research’.  He has extensive academic publications including over 40 text books, the most recent being published in 2014 on Development of Retailing in Beijing, published by China Fortune Press.


Dr Tang has, and continues to play, a significant academic leadership role which began with him teaching an Introduction to Tourism in The Open University of China, teaching a sales training course on CCTV (similar to UK Open University).  He was then appointed professor at BTBU where he was promoted to Director of Academic Affairs.  He was then promoted to Dean of the BTBU Business School and subsequently appointed Vice President of BTBU.  He then left BTBU to take up the role of Vice Director, Beijing Municipal Commission of Education. Today, he is the Director of Education Supervision Bureau of People’s Government of Beijing Municipality with responsibility for the educational system in Beijing.


UCC has enjoyed and appreciates the invaluable support provided by Dr Tang during the past years. 

In December 2015, UCC celebrated its 10th year of our office in Beijing. During this time UCC, Cork and Ireland has enjoyed being enriched by Chinese students as part of our overall internationalisation of the campus and curriculum.  We have invested great energy in developing academic engagement with China and UCC has attracted hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students from the People’s Republic of China, by far the largest cohort of Chinese students in any Irish university.  During this time, we have been greatly supported by Dr Tang in advancing this internationalisation agenda. He supported UCC in China since the establishment of UCC Beijing Office, in the form of facilitating joint programmes with key Beijing partners, MOE applications, and awarding scholarships to allow an increasing number of Beijing students come to UCC.


Dr Tang has been exceptionally generous with his time for UCC’s President, VP’s, Heads of Colleges, leading academics, Ms Emma Connolly of our UCC International office and Bei Zhang of our Beijing office.


Today in UCC, we have almost 400 students studying on campus due in no small part to the great support from Beijing Municipal Education Commission (BMEC).  


BMEC has helped UCC develop links with BTBU, BISTU, BJUT in teaching and research development, and sharing best practice in teaching and learning through the Visiting Lecturers Programme. The majority of students and graduates from China that study at UCC are from Beijing. In fact, our Beijing office data shows that over 60% of the UCC student intake over the past 10 years has come from Beijing universities. UCC is greatly honoured to host these students and in particular to host BMEC scholarship holders in a range of disciplines (Computer Science, Food, Economics) and would be delighted to work with BMEC to build this project further.


We also have links with Renmin University of China (with the Centre for the Integration of Research in teaching and Leaning here at UCC – later this year, our staff will deliver seminars in teaching and learning at Renmin). We also have strong and developing links with Tsinghua University, Peking University, in research.   All of these links have grown from the close relationship built up with Beijing enabled by Dr Tang and our Beijing office.


The university is conferring an Honorary Doctorate on Dr Tang to recognise the seminal role that he played in the establishment of relations between UCC and Beijing and to express our gratitude to him for the opportunities presented as a consequence. He is generous in the time and support that he expends in supporting UCC delegations and in opening network opportunities for us. In thanking Dr Tang, we see this event as also offering us the opportunity to recognise his enormous contribution to the social, economic and political life of Beijing and express our desire for future growth and continuity. We consider Dr Tang to be a “lao pen yuo” (old friend!) and look forward to working with him in the years to come.


Praehonorabilis Vice-Cancellarie, totaque Universitas!

Praesento vobis hunc meum filium, quem scio tam moribus quam doctrina habilem et idoneum esse qui admittatur, honoris causa, ad Gradum Doctoratus in Arte Paedeutica, idque tibi fide mea testor ac spondeo, totique Academiae 

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