UM Rector Wei Zhao honoured with doctorate by 12 Portuguese universities

Prof. Wei Zhao, the rector of the University of Macau (UM) and a renowned expert on computer and information sciences, lately was honoured with a doctorate by twelve renowned Portuguese universities. Rector Wei Zhao said that this honour was recognition of not only his personal achievements, but also of the higher education development and the deep reform at UM, in Macao and China.

The conferment ceremony took place on 20 March at the Sciences Academy of Lisbon and was presided over by the academy’s president Prof. Arantes e Oliveira. Prof. Arantes e Oliveira noted that in 2009 three Portuguese universities jointly conferred an honorary doctorate upon the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and now Rector Wei Zhao beat that record by having twelve renowned universities in Portugal confer the doctorate on him. The twelve universities that jointly conferred the doctorate upon Rector Wei Zhao are Universidade de Aveiro, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Universidade dedo Minho, Universidade de Evora, Universidade dos Acores, Universidade do Algarve, ISCTE Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, Universidade da Madeira, Universidade da Beira, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, and Universidade de Porto.

The ceremony was attended by approximately two hundred people, including Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal Prof. Mariano Gago, President of the Portuguese Council of Rectors Prof. António Rendas, representatives from various Portuguese universities, members of the Sciences Academy of Lisbon, representatives from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Portugal, Head of Macao Economic and Trade Office in Lisbon Mr. Raimundo Arrais do Rosário, Deputy Head of Macao Economic and Trade Office in Lisbon Ms. Maria Gabriela Remedios Cesar, representatives of Chinese students in Portugal, and representatives from UM.

President of the Portuguese Council of Rectors Prof. António Rendas said: “The twelve Portuguese universities have decided to confer an honorary doctorate upon Rector of the University of Macau Prof. Wei Zhao, in recognition of his outstanding achievements in academics and higher education, as well as his contributions to promoting the cooperation and exchange between institutions of higher education in Macao, Portugal and China, and to the training of professionals in various fields.” He also praised UM for its rapid development and excellence in both teaching and research despite a short history. He said that UM has maintained close ties with higher education institutions in mainland China, and universities in Portugal can strengthen their cooperation with Chinese universities through UM.

In his speech Rector Wei Zhao remarked: “I am deeply honored and privileged today to be conferred the honorary doctorate by twelve prestigious Universities here in Portugal. Nevertheless, I also believe that this honor is not just a personal one to me. By way of this recognition, you are also paying tribute to the University of Macau, the Macao Special Administrative Region, and the People’s Republic of China, for our mission of accelerated development of higher education and deep reform. Macao has undergone rapid economic development in recent years, which calls for well-trained and well-prepared talents to sustain such growth. Heavy investments in higher education have been made in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. In this respect, Macao must accelerate its development in higher education; otherwise, we could be marginalized. In contrast, our University is relatively small and young. Therefore we, at the University of Macau, certainly still have much to learn from our Portuguese partners. Nevertheless, we share the same objective with our brother institutions in Portugal: becoming a first-rate university in order to provide excellent teaching, research, and services to both the local society and international community.

Rector Wei Zhao took up his office as UM’s rector in 2008. He is also the first chair professor at UM and the chief scientist for a “973 project” which has been approved for funding under the national “973 Programme”. Before joining UM, He served as Dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the US, Director for the Division of Computer and Network Systems in the US National Science Foundation, and Senior Associate Vice President for Research at Texas A&M University. He is the holder of two US patents and has published more than three hundred papers in journals, conferences, and book chapters, with a citation frequency of over 2000. After joining UM, Rector Wei Zhao focused on enhancing undergraduate education at UM, established the first Honours College in Macao, introduced the residential college system, and formulated a new “4-in-1” education model that consists of discipline-specific education, general education, research and internship education, and community and peer education, all in an attempt to gradually raise UM’s academic status and gain international recognition.


Release on 2011-03-22 16:53