Young and dedicated, Alfred Deignan S.J. was sent to Hong Kong by the Society of Jesus in 1953. He first learned Cantonese in Cheung Chau for two years. Between 1968 and 1992 he served as Principal for the Wah Yan Colleges Hong Kong and Kowloon. His passion for education gave him the highest satisfaction: through education, he hoped to teach students to learn to be good people, to be caring and responsible, to understand what is love and to be able to put others’ interests before their own.
In order to enhance education in morals and values, together with a group of friends, he set up the Hong Kong International Institute of Educational Leadership. Concerned by many of the business practices he observed, he also strongly supported the efforts of the Association of International Business Ethics founded by his friends in order to promote business ethics, corporate social responsibility and responsible entrepreneurship in Hong Kong and beyond.
Throughout his life he made it his mission to educate generations of students in Hong Kong with a particular focus on basic human values of integrity, honesty, truthfulness, forgiveness, and human dignity. Alfred Deignan was a softly spoken Irish gentleman who always had a brilliant smile and lyrical tone. He was well loved and respected and is remembered by his friends and colleagues as being full of wisdom, kindness and generosity.
2023 will be the 70th anniversary of Alfred Deignan’s arrival in Hong Kong, and his focus on educating future socially responsible leaders based on a vision of serving and caring for others, and human values of integrity, honesty and dignity, remains prominent in both the education and business sectors today.