Our Name and Logo

Our Name – “明德工程”

The Motto of HKU is 明德格物, in which 明德 (mingde) is to manifest virtue and 格物 (gewu) is to investigate things.  Both phrases are taken from the Confucian classic The Great Learning.  Mingde occurs in the opening sentence: “The Great Learning teaches the display of illustrious virtue, the renewal of the people, and repose in the highest good. (大學之道,在明明德,在親民,在止於至善。)” The Song Dynasty philosopher Zhu Xi (朱熹) further explained that these were the three great duties of a ruler.  Scholars of the Confucian school have traditionally believed that "virtue" is the perfect nature that man is born with.  This nature becomes perverted by the various temptations of life, and the great task of education is to restore it to its original purity.  Complementary to HKU’s Motto, we named this programme as “明德工程” (Project Mingde).

Our Name in Latin – “VIRTUS ET INGENIUM”

Owing to the contribution of Professor Nicolas S.Y. Yeung, Professor S.Y. Sun 孫述宇, a well-known Latin expert in Hong Kong and also a good friend of Professor Yeung, has kindly offered an appropriate Latin translation for Project Mingde: Virtus et Ingenium. The manuscript by Professor Sun below explains the values and aspirations of what the Latin words carry.


According to Prof. Sun,

VIRTUS and INGENIUM correspond respectively to 明德 and 工程. In the HKU crest, VIRTUS also corresponds to 明德.  VIRTUS, a Latin word and the origin of the English word “virtue”, originally signified “strength”, “worth”, “distinction”, and “virtue”. Etymologically VIRTUS comes from VIR which means man. Hence “strength” is its essential meaning.

The etymology of “engineering”, the English equivalent of 工程, can be traced to Old French “engine”, and further to Latin’s INGENIUM. The prefix of this Latin word is in- (which evolved into en- in Old French), and its root is gen-, meaning production. Ancient Romans used INGENIUM to refer to “capability” and “natural qualities”, as well as “an ingenious piece of work”.

We would like to send our heartfelt gratitude to Professor Sun for this distinguished and superior name.

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Our Logo

Mr. Henry Steiner, a world’s leading branding and corporate identity consultant, who has created some of the most identifiable logos such as HSBC, Asiaweek and IBM World Trade Corporation, has kindly designed a brand new logo for Project Mingde, owing to the contribution of Professor Nicolas S.Y. Yeung.

Mr. Steiner made some comments on the Project Mingde visual identity:

“A successful mark must combine the clarity of a target with the memorability and visual distinction of a flag.

The Project Mingde mark is built around a unique articulation of the Kai Shu script ming character.  It is dynamic, contrasting the components of the word with colours referring to day and night; also suggesting the turning pages of a book, symbol of learning.

The use of a single character to identify an entity with a longer name is a standard technique as may be seen in the use of the character chung, for example, in many differing corporate logos.

As a designer, I am honored to have the opportunity of being associated with this commendable mission.”

We would like to send our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to Mr. Henry Steiner for this distinguished and extraordinary logo.

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