Inspired to Dream Bigger Dreams
Allan Lee was attending a teacher training school in 1952 when he learned the United Board was offering full scholarships for Hong Kong students to attend Japan’s International Christian University (ICU). The deadline for applications was the next day, so during his lunch break he rushed to nearby Chung Chi College to pick up an application. The trip was only a short distance, but that lunchtime errand and his enrollment in ICU’s Class of 1957 marked a turning point in his life.
Dr. Lee already planned to be a teacher, so his four years at ICU did not radically alter his career plans. But ICU’s general education classes, in addition to the requirements for his physics major, broadened his perspective. “I was introduced to a world beyond Hong Kong and Asia. I was inspired to venture into new areas of endeavor and dream bigger dreams,” he recalls. Dr. Lee went on to earn graduate degrees and spend nearly 25 years on the faculty of Seneca College in Toronto, but he still remembers the impact of individual ICU teachers, administrators, support staff, and students. “These role models – who exuded such old-fashioned values as dedication to work, commitment to service, humility and tolerance in everyday life, caring and compassion for other people – were the single most important source that helped shape and mold my core values.”
The benefits of general education are enduring, Dr. Lee believes, and could be even more important to students of today than yesterday. “Our world is undergoing change as never before. Critical thinking skills and a readiness to pursue lifelong learning will place the recipient of general education at a great advantage, irrespective of the nature and type of his or her work.”
Dr. Lee remains deeply grateful to the United Board for his scholarship. “Above all, it was a very generous scholarship, and I didn’t come from a well-to-do family,” he said. That inspires Dr. Lee’s giving to the United Board, which broadens the horizons of Asian educators through its United Board Fellows Program, Faculty Scholarship Program, and other endeavors. As he wrote on the occasion of ICU’s sixtieth anniversary, “I am hopeful that with growing support from friends and alumni, the dynamic partnership between ICU and the United Board will flourish and make an even greater positive impact on higher education in East and Southeast Asia in the years to come.”
Dr. Allan Lee passed away on February 20, 2017.
To read about other individuals who received United Board support to attend ICU, please click here.