Hong Kong Adventist College (HKAC) is a 4-year liberal arts college founded and supported by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Established in 1903, we have a strong tradition of providing quality education with an emphasis on developing the potential of the whole person.
The integration of faith and learning provides a unique academic environment for students from a variety of cultures and religious backgrounds.
Hong Kong Adventist College is also recognized to have historical buildings in Hong Kong.
The History of Hong Kong Adventist College and Clear Water Bay Sam Yuk Middle School
The educational work conducted by American Seventh-day Adventists in China has its origins in the Southern part of China’s mainland. In 1903, the church operating in Guangzhou founded its first school, which later on, through several name changes and moves, eventually became Hong Kong Adventist College (HKAC) in 1981. That first school was called “The Bethal Girls’ School”. Two years later in 1905, “The Yick Chi Boys’ School” was established. By 1911, the school for boys was closed and later reopened as a middle school I n1916. That was the start of “Sam Yuk School.” Lands were purchased in the eastern part of Guangdong city (Canton as it was formerly known in English) to enable the rapid development of “Sam Yuk School”. In 1922, “Sam Yuk School” erected a school plan. By the time the buildings were ready for occupancy, “The Bethel Girls’ School” was folded into the “Sam Yuk” school system. The new middle school served the Guangxi (Kwangsi), Guangzhou (Kwangchow), and Hakka (Hakkah) Missions in the Southern China region. By 1935, the South China Union Mission took charge of “Sam Yuk School” and renamed it “Canton Training Institute”. China fell into war time turmoil in 1937, when the Sino-Japanese War began. In order to survive this chaotic period, “Canton Training Institute” moved temporarily to Sha Tin, Hong Kong. At this time, “Canton Training Institute” became “South China Training Institute”. Later, the “China Training Institute” (Junior College), which was another Adventist educational institution in Central China, was also moved to the same location. The two schools were integrated to become the “China and South China Training Institute”. Not long afterward, a parcel of land consisting of 40 acres was purchased by the Seventh-day Adventist Church at Clear Water Bay in the New Territories. A plan developed for a permanent campus began, and two years later in 1939, campus buildings were designed by Elder Chu Yue-tat. Of the original eight buildings, five buildings remain on campus to this day. In 1942, World War II broke out. Hong Kong people were placed under Japanese occupation for three and a half years. Because of this calamity, the school reverted back to its prior name of “South China Training Institute” and returned to China’s mainland near the town of Lao-lung in Guangdong province. When the war was near its end, the Clear Water Bay campus was seized by the British colonial army. In order to continue its educational mission, the “South China Training Institute” relocated back to its former site in the district of Tung-shan in Guangdong for one year. Not until 1947 was the school able to return to the Clear Water Bay campus in Hong Kong. The Far Eastern Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church authorized the South China Island Union Mission to open a college to provide tertiary education in 1958. The middle school was also incorporated into the Clear Watrer Bay campus. At this point, mainland China’s “Great Leap Forward” started to collectivize food production. The resulting widespread famine on the mainland spilled over into Hong Kong, where many refugees arrived throughout the early 1960s. In 1962, the college curriculum was launched and by 1964, the secondary and tertiary education was combined. The combined educational entity was named “South China Union College”. From 1966 to 1976, it was the decade known as mainland China’s Cultural Revolution. Historians view it as a difficult period for cultural heritage (such as art, books, and monuments) as well as for families. In 1978, the era of market reforms and state sanctioned capitalism began and was dubbed “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. With the manufacturing sector taking off in Hong Kong in the 1960s, the consumer era began in earnest. In 1972, the US president at the time paid a state visit to mainland China; he was the first American leader to visit the People’s Republic of China. His visit ended 25 years of no communications between the U.S. and China. It began the normalization of diplomatic relations between two the planet’s eventual economic “super powers”—China and the U.S. Later on, in 1981, “Hong Kong Adventist College” (HKAC) was the new name for “South China Union College”, in order to designate it as a separate entity from “Sam Yuk Middle School”. The Hong Kong Department of Education approved the registration of HKAC. The College made rapid progress with student enrollment growing steadily. As time went by, it became clear that buildings would require renovation. Therefore, in 1989, HKAC’s Board of Directors approved a major redevelopment plan for the campus. Lands located in the hillside were designated Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited, in order to create funds for the campus redevelopment project. In 1997, new campus facilities were launched on the Clear Water Bay campus. That same year, the United Kingdom (UK) returned Hong Kong sovereignty to mainland China after approximately 155 years of colonial rule. The British captured Hong Kong island in 1841 originally, during the First Opium Water and were officially ceded the territory in 1842, under the Treaty of Nanking. By the 1990s, families on the mainland could aspire to acquiring household goods. Air conditioning, which is now deemed indispensable in the era of climate change, was within the realm of possible attainment too. Historically, both mainland China and Hong Kong experience more turmoil when severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) occurred in Guangdong province and spilled over into Hong Kong from early 2003 through mid-2004. Thankfully, the origins of the disease were discovered in a wild animal (the civet cat), and the epidemic was contained within a year and a half. The so-called “Umbrella Movement” took place in 2014 and caused much unrest in the central business districts of Hong Kong Island. In 2014, the HKAC Library established the Center for Chinese Adventist Heritage in 2014 with Ms. Katerina Ma as the curator for the collection. In March 2022, HKAC accepted an important donated collection of just under 20 archival books used as references by expatriate American missionary Elder Vance J. Maloney who was active in China in 1924-1941. Books from this collection include: Dictionary of the Foochow Dialect-Maclay, Baldwin, and Leger 1929; English-Chinese Dictionary-K. Hemeling, PhD 1916; Mandarin Dictionary of Chinese; Old Testament in Amoy Vernacular; The Four - Confucias, Mencius, Doctrine of the Mean. Written in Chinese and English like a bible with verses and concordance on each page; Course in Analysis of Chinese Characters-R. B. Blackney; and The Middle Kingdom by S. Wells Williams dated 1848. During the Clear Water Bay Campus’ 80th anniversary year in 2019, Hong Kong Adventist College underwent renovations work on Bayview Church (also known as King Huy Hall) and a few classrooms. The obelisk monument was moved near the front gate of the campus in September 2019. An 80th campus anniversary monument was installed on the front campus lawn and has been used as a performance stage during campus events. In Autumn 2019, a new music program was launched; several new piano practice rooms and a lovely music classroom was built. In 2020, the campus cafeteria underwent an interior design update. Renovations work was also done on the HKAC administration building roof, regarding rainwater leaks. The biology laboratory was updated, and the chemistry laboratory was converted into a state-of-the-art lecture hall with stadium seats. A joint 2+2 nursing program with US-based Andrews University and expanded business course offerings occurred as well around this time. Despite the 2019 African Swine Flu virus affecting mainland China pig farms, the ongoing US/China trade war tensions, 2019’s newly erupted Hong Kong protest movement across urban and New Territories districts, plus the 2020 onward SARS CoV-2 (Covid-19) global pandemic that has hit Hong Kong hard with the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant in 2022, Hong Kong Adventist College remains steadfast in its educational, spiritual, and community service aims. In the most recent years, the operation of Chinese Adventist Seminary (former named “Griggs University Asia”) moved from Chinese Union Mission to HKAC under the supervision of the College on the Clear Water Bay campus. In addition, a counseling service center opened in 2015 on campus, and a student ambassadors program started in 2017. Academic program affiliations began with Adventist colleges and universities in the U.S.: Eureka College (2017), Andrews University in the Associate degree in Business (2018), La Sierra University (2019), the Pre-Nursing Track 2+2 program in affiliation with Andrews University (2019), a study abroad 2+2 program in affiliation with Andrews University and Southern Adventist University (2019), a Pre-Nursing Track 2+2 program in affiliation with Kettering College (2020), and a 2+2 program in affiliation with Pacific Union College (2022). The Department of Psychology has also launched an evening certificate program in Christian Counseling with its second course just announced as of March 2022. The campus will continue to evolve, renovate, expand, and open its gates to those of all ethnicities and faiths both near and far, in person and through online education. HKAC provides a Christian liberal arts education with the intention to help students integrate into society, excel in academic achievements, and learn subjects as diverse as business, health, music, and psychology. Students also get involved in extracurricular school activities. These student activities include: school choir, local and overseas mission trips, sports such as basketball and soccer/football, piano lessons, and theatre. Special student activities occur during Art Day, Culture Day, Environmental Day, Food and Fun Fair and Alumni Day, Veggie Festival, Recreation Day, and Christmas Day. Not only are students accepted through the admissions process, they are also embraced into the friendly campus community without regard to gender, race, age, national origin, or religion. While it remains a challenge for an accredited Seventh-day Adventist educational institution to remain vigilant in its calling to spread the gospel and stay on the non-profit path of recruiting and educating local and global youth, Hong Kong Adventist College continues this mission on the Clear Water Bay campus. Approximately half of HKAC students is from Hong Kong, while the other half are from the Asia Pacific region and beyond. HKAC and Sam Yuk Middle School Clear Water Bay graduates can now be found all over the planet, including: Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. HKAC and Sam Yuk graduates have done well in many industries, including: academia, business, health care, logistics, lodging, and entertainment. The Clear Water Bay campus faculty and staff of HKAC look forward to education and providing guidance to new generations of globally oriented and digitally savvy students, to prepare them to be kind, charitable people of leadership substance in church communities, in various non-profit organizations, as well as business services, goods and industrial sectors, and in myriad cultures. As the African proverb goes, “It takes a whole village to raise a child”. Faculty and staff on the Clear Water Bay campus take this especially to heart with teachings and collaborative initiatives that inspire students’ minds, bodies, souls, and physical fitness, as well as help build their compassion for their fellow human beings. By the time students graduate from Hong Kong Adventist College, they have been equipped with the tools to enable them to be meaningful contributors to society. Long may HKAC on the scenic Clear Water Bay campus carry on its heart-felt educational, faith-based, and motivational guidance traditions!