Dr Rita Fan Hsu Lai Tai was born in 1945 in Shanghai and attended the St Stephen’s Girls’ College in Hong Kong. She holds a BSc (in Chemistry and Physics), a Certificate in Personnel Management and an MSocSc (in Psychology), all from the University of Hong Kong. With over 25 years to her political career, Dr Fan was first appointed as the member of Legislative Council in 1983 by Sir Edward Youde, the then Governor of Hong Kong. In 1989, she became a member of Executive Council and the Chairperson of Education Commission.
In the lead-up to Hong Kong’s reunification with China, Dr Fan served as a member of the Preliminary Working Committee for the HKSAR and the Preparatory Committee for the HKSAR. She was elected as the President of the Provisional Legislative Council from 1997 to 1998 and then the Legislative Council for three terms. Dr Fan was the first woman elected to the post and is also its longest-serving, holding the elected Presidency from 1997 to 2008. She is currently a member of the Standing Committee of the Eleventh National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China.
In recognition of her contributions to public service in Hong Kong, the University has resolved to confer upon her the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa.