SUSTech bids farewell to Class of 2021 at Commencement Ceremony
Adrian Cremin | 06/26/2021

On the morning of June 26, 2021, the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) held its 2021 Commencement Ceremony. Due to epidemic prevention and control measures, the graduation ceremony was also broadcasted live online.

Yurong GUO, University Council Chairperson, Qikun XUE, President of SUSTech, Ming LI, former University Council Chairperson, Shiyi CHEN, former President, Academician Wei CHEN, honored guest and Vice Chairperson of the Chinese Association for Science and Technology, and other honored guests attended the ceremony.

SUSTech’s 934 undergraduates and 203 graduates attended the ceremony in the form of an “in-person and virtual” format. At the graduation ceremony, University Council Chairperson Yurong GUO and SUSTech President Qikun XUE led the University leaders, academicians, and deans to the podium together.

Academician Wei CHEN is a top epidemiologist and virologist in China. She sent a message to the SUSTech graduates through a video clip entitled “Live a thrilling life”, which was played at the ceremony. She noted that the graduates were the new generation and will shape the future. They will carry on to revitalize the country and continue its prosperity.

Principal XUE said that the SUSTech people must have four responsibilities: be strong, be healthy, be brave and chase your dreams. Representatives of graduates and alumni also gave speeches at the event, which was broadcasted live in both Chinese and English and attracted nearly 300,000 views.

Dongxiao ZHANG, Vice President and Provost of SUSTech, presided over the ceremony. Fengliang LI, University Council Vice Chairperson, Chun LU, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Acting Vice Presidents Yusheng ZHAO, Fuquan FANG, Dongfeng GU, other members of the leadership team, academicians, deans, committee members, and others also participated in the event.

Before the ceremony started, six graduate students were invited to be the flag bearers of the six residential colleges. The graduates raised the flags aloft and entered the venue with the procession of officials and faculty members following them. The graduation ceremony then commenced with everyone standing for the national anthem.

Vice President Chun LU announced the degree evaluation committee. 934 undergraduates were awarded bachelor’s degrees, and 175 graduate students received their master’s degrees. Nineteen students were awarded a doctoral degree through the joint postgraduate training program by SUSTech and Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT). Nine candidates received a joint SUSTech-HIT master’s degree.

University Council Chairperson Yurong GUO announced the top ten undergraduates of 2021. She congratulated all the students for successfully completing their studies and embarking on a new journey in their life. She said, “Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, today we are holding the 2021 Commencement Ceremony of SUSTech differently. But let us all work together to overcome these difficulties and create a special memory together.”

The recipients of the top ten undergraduates of 2021 were Yazhuo LIU, Heyi LI, Shuqing LI, Haoyu LIU, Xinyi GU, Mingshuo LIU, Zhuotong YU, Guoyang QIN, Ziyi ZHANG, and Ting SUN. Chairperson GUO congratulated the students and hopes that other students will follow in their direction through the hard work and dedication they instilled in their studies and carrying that forward into the workplace.

Xinyi GU, a finance graduate from Zhicheng College, spoke on behalf of her fellow undergraduates. She used the seed of the Banyan tree, one of the symbols of SUSTech, as a metaphor for her own growing experience at the University. She said, “From general education, to residential college, and the guidance of her mentors, gradually I rooted myself in the University and slowly grew, with every leaf reflecting a moment of growth.” She added that she hopes to make a significant contribution to society in the future and help it develop and flourish.

Xuan LIU, a master’s graduate from the Department of Statistics and Data Science, spoke on behalf of the graduate students. He shared his six-year experience exploring and growing during his undergraduate and master’s studies at SUSTech. He said that one of the most significant transformations from undergraduate to postgraduate study is transitioning into scientific research. Creating conditions for tutors and students to get along with each other is one of the core strengths of SUSTech’s talent training. The University helped him perform scientific research, assume social responsibilities, and pay more attention to the people around him.

Zhi ZHANG, a graduate from Class of 2015 at SUSTech, spoke on behalf of the alumni. He shared his experience of when he moved to Shenzhen at the age of 15 and entered SUSTech. In his mind, he was entering the “most promising university”. He encouraged students to dare, to think, and to do. “You must have a strong desire to want to do that, and you must continuously explore the ways for you to achieve your dreams. This is SUSTech, and we are from SUSTech,” he added.

“Congratulations students on the successful completion of your studies at such a high-profile, innovative, and research university,” said Wei CHEN via a video link online. Quoting a famous speech from General Secretary Xi Jinping, she said that the young people of China live in a prosperous time. She hopes that the graduates will go forward together, make major contributions to society, and live a thrilling life.

President Qikun XUE extended his congratulations to all the graduates. “The character of a university is not only reflected in the faculty and students, but also the alumni all over the world. Your extraordinary ambitions, extraordinary deeds, and achievements will be fed back to your alma mater, forming a common bond together.” He spoke about the country’s development and encouraged students to take on greater responsibilities as they embark on their new journey.

“Science and technology have become the biggest variable of our time, which puts forward new demands on us as a great country.” President XUE added and cited the examples of famous scientists such as Youyou TU and Wei CHEN.

He told a story about the scientific and technological powers of the older generation of scientists and that it has become more challenging to achieve original innovation discoveries. He hopes that the people of SUSTech will shoulder greater responsibilities and dare to make significant scientific and technological advancements for the country’s benefit. He hopes they will persevere, improve their skills, overcome difficulties, and never give up until they have achieved their dreams.

“There is only so much you can do and so much responsibility you can undertake,” said President XUE in his closing remarks. He hopes the graduates will use their wisdom and have the courage to take on greater challenges and overcome any difficulties that may arise. He encouraged them to be strong, be healthy, be brave, and chase their dreams in creating a glorious chapter in their lives.

Before the ceremony, there were short videos played on the big screen. These videos included graduation blessings from international students based in other countries, graduates speaking from their perspective about their campus life, and overall experience while studying at SUSTech. Additionally, there were dance performances from the Nova Hip-Hop, Wink Dance, and Latin Dance Clubs of SUSTech.

After the 2021 Commencement Ceremony, the degree-awarding schools and colleges of SUSTech held degree-granting ceremonies.

The 2021 Commencement Ceremony and degree-awarding ceremonies were held in strict compliance with epidemic prevention standards. The venue was sanitized, and the number of people entering the ceremony was controlled. Additionally, participating guests had to show proof they received their COVID-19 vaccination and provide a negative nucleic acid test result within 72 hours of the event.

2021, 06-26
By Adrian Cremin

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