The educational work conducted by Seventh-day Adventists in China has its origin in the Southern part of Mainland China. In 1903, the church operating in Guangzhou founded its first school to form the nucleus for the Hong Kong Adventist College. This exclusively female school was called "The Bethel Girls' School," followed in 1905, by the establishment of the Yick Chi Boys' School. In 1911, the Yick Chi Boy's School was closed and re-opened as a middle school five years later as "Sam Yuk School."
The Sam Yuk School prospered and showed signs of bright future. As a result, lands were purchased in the eastern part of the Guangdong city (Canton) to meet the rapid development of the school. In 1922, a school plant was erected. As soon as the new buildings were ready for occupancy the Bethel Girls' School was incorporated as a part of the Sam Yuk School system. The new school served the Guangzhou (Kwangchow), Hakka (Hakkah), and Guangxi (Kwangsi) Missions in the South China region. In 1935, the South China Union Mission took charge of the Sam Yuk School and renamed it the "Canton Training Institute."
In 1937 the Sino-Japanese War broke out, plunging China into turmoil. To survive, the school was moved to Hong Kong and temporarily operated in Shatin. At that time the school was renamed as the "South China Training Institute". Later, the "China Training Institute" (Junior College), another Adventist education institution from central China, was also moved to the same quarters. The two schools were merged together to form the "China and South China Training Institute." Soon after, a piece of land consisting of 40 acres was purchased at Clear Water Bay in the New Territories. A development project destined to build a permanent campus began and after two years, the campus buildings were completed, with the school in Shatin soon arriving.
In 1942, World War II erupted, bringing the people of Hong Kong under Japanese occupation. As a result, the school reverted to its prior name of "South China Training Institute" and moved back to Mainland China near the town of Laolung in Guangdong province.
With the war's ending, the campus in Clear Water Bay was confiscated by the colonial British army. To continue the long suspended education work, the school was relocated back to its former site in the district of Tungshan in Guangdong for a year. It was not until 1947 that the school could move back to the Clear Water Bay campus.
In 1958, a strong need was felt for further training opportunities for the Seventh-day Adventist youth in China. The Far Eastern Division of Seventh-day Adventists authorized the South China Island Union Mission to open a college for providing tertiary education. It was planned to incorporate the middle school at the Clear Water Bay campus. The college curriculum was launched in 1962. Two years later, the name of this school, which had combined the secondary and tertiary education, was officially changed to "South China Union College."
In 1981, the constituency of the South China Island Union Mission officially adopted the name "Hong Kong Adventist College" to identify the school as an independent entity separated from the secondary program of Sam Yuk Middle School. This was followed by the registration and approval of Hong Kong Adventist College by the Hong Kong Department of Education.
The College made rapid progress with enrollment growing steadily. The campus facilities, degrading as time passed, soon were in urgent need of renovation. As a result, the Board of Directors decided in 1989 to press ahead a major redevelopment plan for the College. It was decided that lands located in the hillside would be sold to the Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited for pooling a source of income for the redevelopment project. The hilltop was maintained to be the landmark of the campus site. New campus facilities were launched in 1997.
Today, the Hong Kong Adventist College is considered as a member of the sisterhood of almost 4,000 Seventh-day Adventist colleges operated all over the world. We join hands with these Adventist training institutes to provide quality education within the church community and for the wider society. The Sam Yuk Middle School is not in operation anymore.
To sustain our eminent mission to serve the local community with Christian zeal has been challenging. To meet the continuous education reforms imposed by the local government, commercializing education as a product marketable to local community becomes a survival tactic for the training institutions. This challenges our wisdom and talent to fulfill our non-commercial- oriented call: to encourage 'the collegiate community to accept Jesus Christ as a personal Savior, and recognize the imminent return of Jesus,' to 'be involved actively in spreading the gospel' and to 'provide an accredited Seventh-day Adventist tertiary education for the constituency of Seventh-day Adventists in the greater China region and the global Chinese community as well as for anyone who desires a Christian liberal arts education to prepare for responsible worldwide employment and service.'
Praise the Lord, as we look back, we are thrilled to see God's guidance and blessings. Bearing these past experiences in mind, we are bravely advancing and looking forward to equip the next generation.