U of T welcomes Leong Scholars to campus

November 2, 2018 by Richard Whittall - University Advancement

When Dr. Edwin Leong (MSc 1974) gave generously to the University of Toronto in 2017 to establish the Edwin S.H. Leong Scholarship, he hoped the award would “attract the best and brightest students from around the globe to U of T.”

Today, Dr. Leong’s vision has become a reality. Three extraordinary students have been selected to receive the 2018-19 Scholarship, which helps outstanding candidates with financial need pursue graduate studies at U of T.

They are Junran Yan, a University of Hong Kong graduate in molecular biology & biotechnology and English studies who is undertaking a one-year master of arts in English literature; Dongyang Yang, a University of Waterloo graduate and pursuing a PhD in biostatistics; and Chau Lung Ngan Spark Tseung, a first-year PhD student in statistical sciences. Each will receive $55,000 to cover tuition and living costs for the school year.

My graduate degree gave me a solid foundation. I give back to ensure that outstanding students have similar opportunities.

“U of T is the best university in Canada, and this scholarship is a very precious opportunity for me to discover all my options and for me to broaden my knowledge base about a variety of subjects,” said Yan, who graduated from the University of Hong Kong with first honours and a cumulative GPA of 4.07. “I want to thank Dr. Leong for this incredible financial support, which will help me develop both as a scientist and as a person.”

“I’m really grateful to Dr. Leong for awarding me this scholarship,” said Yang, who plans to apply her U of T education in statistics to assist hospital physicians in offering effective treatment plans for patients. “I know Dr. Leong wants us to give back to society after graduation, and that is my goal.”

A personal connection

Dr. Leong personally interviewed the 2018-19 scholarship recipients. Each expressed to him their desire to use their U of T education in their lives and careers to help others. “I want to investigate problems in actuarial science and mathematical finance, work that would help people, whether by designing a better kind of insurance or helping government organizations better manage risk,” said Tseung of his award.

Dr. Leong is himself a proud U of T alumnus, having graduated with a master’s in computer science in 1974. Three years later, he founded and became chairman of Tai Hung Fai Enterprise Co. Ltd., a diversified property investment and development company. In 2005, he established the Tai Hung Fai Charitable Foundation, dedicated to supporting causes that promote the health and well-being of the aged and underprivileged.

The Edwin S.H. Leong Scholarship reflects Dr. Leong’s belief in the global value of U of T education. “My graduate degree gave me a solid foundation,” he said in 2017. “I give back to the University to ensure that outstanding students who are in need of support have similar opportunities.”

Destination: Canada

The 2018-19 Edwin SH Leong Graduate Scholars bring a diverse set of talents to U of T. In addition to her interest in English literature, Junran Yan is an accomplished scientist, having double majored in molecular biology & biotechnology as well as English studies at the University of Hong Kong. Dongyang Yang represented the University of Waterloo on the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association while completing her master’s degree in biostatistics. And Chau Lung Ngan Spark Tseung plans to use some of his scholarship funds to qualify as a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries while completing his PhD in statistical sciences.

All three were intent on their desire to come to the University of Toronto.

Thank you, Dr. Leong. I know that my future success will have a lot to do with this incredible opportunity.

“I was excited to pursue my degree in Canada because it’s a very open and free country and there are lots of opportunities to work and study,” says Yan. “U of T is the best university in Canada, so it was a very attractive option for me.”

“I did a co-op at Princess Margaret Hospital with a professor from U of T, assisting physicians in developing appropriate treatment plans for patients,” adds Dongyang Yang. “The work inspired me to pursue my PhD here.”

Chau Lung Ngan Spark Tseung found the quality of the statistical sciences department attractive. “I had heard many good things about it, and one of my university professors who has worked closely with U of T faculty recommended I pursue my PhD there.”

Each scholar also underlined how the scholarship would allow them to complete their degrees without the added stress of financial concerns.

“I want to say thank you to Dr. Leong,” said Tseung. “I know that my future success will have a lot to do with this incredible opportunity.”