Education is the key to achieving one’s dreams. Walking down the aisle to collect a diploma is a moment when a long-held dream finally comes to life.
On June 30, students and faculty of the 8 schools of PKUSZ congregated in the auditorium of the HSBC Business School for the 2019 Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School Commencement Ceremony. In 2019, 894 students graduated, including 81 doctoral students and 47 students from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, or a foreign country.
The beauty and warmth of the ceremony captured the joy of this remarkable moment. Regardless of how long graduating students had been dreaming of this special day, they could not have expected the pleasant surprises in store for them.
Student and staff performances charmed the audience before the commencement officially began. Four singers selected from the winners of the “Nanyan Top 10 Singers” contest held earlier this year joined the celebration. Each dedicated a song to the graduates. Following these performers, members of the Nanyan Dance Group broke out in a dazzling “Flash Dance”. The dance combined waltz, classical, and street styles with costumes in a mix of elegant Western, traditional Chinese, and contemporary youthful styles. The performances were a thrilling beginning to the morning’s festivities.
Vice Chancellor of PKU Shenzhen, Professor Zeng Hui, opened the ceremony by welcoming the proud families, teachers of the graduates, and the distinguished guests. Speakers then took to the stage to share memories and offer words of advice for the graduates as they set off on a new journey in life.
The first speaker was student representative Zhu Weihao, a graduating student from Peking University HSBC Business School (PHBS). In a speech appropriately titled Create a Hard-core Version of Yourself, he recalled the continuous struggle each student had to endure to reach this happy occasion. Whether it was sleepless nights in labs, endless piles of cases to read, or early morning training sessions, each student encountered significant hardship. Weihao reminded the graduates that this hardship crafted them into the hard-working people they are today. And he encouraged his peers to continue to not shy away from hardship in pursuit of their dreams and in service to their country. As PKU graduates, they should continue to develop the hard-core versions of themselves.
The next speaker was Associate Professor Li Zigang from the School of Chemical Biology & Biotechnology. Like student representative Zhu Weihao, Professor Li Zigang also challenged students to live up to the high expectations set for members of the PKU community. In his speech, Be A PKUer Who Takes on the Responsibilities of the Times, the professor invoked his own experience navigating major life choices after earning his graduate degree. He urged students to, “Focus on noble intentions and not be easily lured by flashy success.” In this way, they would become the “pillars” of society which PKU has cultivated since its founding.
The graduates also heard from distinguished guest Mr. Huang Jiantao, an alumnus from the PKU class of 1979. Mr. Huang spoke on behalf of the alumni. His speech, In This Great New Era, Let’s Persevere and Seize Opportunities, looked to the past to face the future. He praised the strength of traditional Chinese culture and the current revival of China. “Rich traditional culture is the root of the inheritance and development of a country and a nation,” said Mr. Huang. “It is not only the spiritual home, where the heart and vessels are linked together but also the spiritual lifeline that cannot be blocked.” Through preserving, reforming, and sticking to the heart of Chinese culture, students will become positive forces and leaders of the new era.
Standing Committee Member of CCP PKU, Executive Vice President of PKU, President of Peking University Health Science Center, and Chancellor of PKU Shenzhen Graduate School, Zhan Qimin, provided the final message to the graduates. Chancellor Zhan congratulated the graduates and remarked that he was honored to be attending his first commencement ceremony as Chancellor of PKU Shenzhen.
Chancellor Zhan also drew on the rich history of PKU to inspire students to make their own mark on the current times. More specifically, his speech, “Inheriting the Spirit of the May 4th Movement and Bearing the Important Responsibility of the Times” illustrated how a former generation of PKU students defended their country and stood for the pursuit of truth and democracy. He described how they are a shining example of how PKU students have a duty to use their knowledge and skills to benefit the nation and the people of China. “Peking University and the fate of the nation have been closely linked,” he proclaimed. “‘Patriotism, progress, democracy and science’ ——the spirit of the May 4th Movement became part of the culture of Peking University.” By inheriting the values of the May 4th Movement launched by PKU students, students will overcome challenges and build a brighter and more prosperous future for China.
Finally, leaders of the colleges announced the graduates’ names. One by one they took to the stage to collect their certificates.
PKU Shenzhen wishes they carry this sense of accomplishment with them and face the future with confidence. We know they will go far, but no matter what, in the words of Chancellor Zhan, graduates should remember “Nanyan will always be your home!”