Despite the wet weather common in Shenzhen at this time of year, thousands of new undergraduate and postgraduate students packed into Runyang Stadium at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) for the 2019 Convocation. SUSTech University Council Chairperson Guo Yurong, University President Chen Shiyi led members of the school’s leadership team, academicians, heads of departments and colleges in attending the ceremony. Over 2200 students were joined by faculty members, alumni representatives and parents of the 2023 class of SUSTech gathered together for the ceremony. Vice President Lu Chun presided over the ceremony.
This year, SUSTech welcomed 1062 freshmen from 22 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions across China. Among the total undergraduates, there are 18 international students from 8 countries. The number of graduate students has reached a historical high with 1139 students. 10 graduate students have been recruited from 7 countries.
With the formation of the Greater Bay Area earlier this year, and the Statement by the State Council that aims to build Shenzhen into a global model city with distinguished competitiveness, innovative capability and influence, the convocation of the Class of 2023 presented unheralded opportunities for SUSTech and Shenzhen to work together for the betterment of society. Since its establishment, SUSTech has worked in harmony with the innovation and development of Shenzhen in the exploration of China’s higher education reform. In this state-led urban upgrading, universities should further consider how to better promote Shenzhen’s innovation and development, how to achieve their goals of being a world-class university, rooted in China.
As people filed into the gymnasium, the SUSTech Chinese Folk Orchestra entertained the crowd with their dulcet tunes, along with a performance by an electro-acoustic band. Before the ceremony started, the audience was treated to a music video filmed by the graduates of the class of 2019, entitled “Dream on the road,” and a short film called “The Gate to the Future.”
As the guests entered the stage, everybody stood for the national anthem.
President Chen Shiyi
Vice President Lu Chun
President Chen Shiyi spoke first. He first expressed his warm welcome to all undergraduates, graduate students and international students joining SUSTech in 2019 on behalf of the University. He reflected on the role that science and technology plays in developing a nation, and the students should see themselves as playing a critical role at this historical juncture. After eight short years, SUSTech has become a high-quality university that continually innovates and improves in areas such as pedagogy, graduate employment, teaching quality, scientific research and campus environment.
With this in mind, President Chen Shiyi encouraged students to choose their own path for scientific research and innovative projects to form their own unique frameworks for knowledge, abilities and skill sets. He pointed out that SUSTech prides itself on allowing students to chart their own course through their undergraduate degrees, ensuring that almost no two students have the same transcript of course work.
President Chen gave the students four recommendations for their years ahead. He suggested that the students lay a solid foundation of fundamental classes, challenge themselves, and make good choices while they are at SUSTech. He also pointed out that an understanding of society would be extremely helpful in finding a sense of direction and a sense of time. Shenzhen speed was not something that occurred overnight, but came as a product of its unique urban advantages. This is why numerous technology companies are headquartered within the same district at SUSTech. “I foresee that in the future, there will be a new batch of unicorns and world-class enterprises set up around SUSTech, as a result of your efforts.”
In closing his speech, President Chen Shiyi encouraged the students to take on the responsibility to become the future leaders of the new era and make significant contributions to society.
Dean Wu Jingshen
Dean Wu Jingshen of the School of System Design and Intelligent Manufacturing spoke on behalf of the faculty. Professor Wu is also a tutor at Shude Residential College. In reflecting on his decision to come to SUSTech and Shenzhen, he talked about the ability to realize his infinite ambitions. The faculty at SUSTech would lead by example to support the students in their quest to achieve their dreams. The student-centered approach will cultivate their enthusiasm for life-long learning, while stimulating the desire to create new knowledge. He hoped that the newest group of undergraduate students would be imbued with the innovative genes of SUSTech and Shenzhen, when faced with the uncertain challenges of the future. Dean Wu Jingshen wished the best for the Class of 2023, anticipating that these students would represent the new wave of leaders of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Alumnus Liu Zhipeng
Class of 2018 alumnus Liu Zhipeng is continuing his academic studies in materials studies by undertaking a master’s degree at the University of Queensland in Australia. He talked about the numerous opportunities that SUSTech provided him, and how the newest generation of SUSTech students will have the opportunity to write new pages in the history book of SUSTech. Liu Zhipeng spoke on the chance he had to discover who he was, and how everyone in the stadium would have that exact same opportunity while studying at SUSTech. He encouraged everyone to work hard as the protagonist of their own stories, so they should determine their own direction with the utmost of sincerity, the best of intentions, and the clearest of hearts.
Freshmen Bai Yuwei
Freshmen student Bai Yuwei spoke on behalf of the freshmen. She was looking forward to writing her own history in Shenzhen and at SUSTech, and believed that SUSTech’s roots in Shenzhen would see enhanced future development opportunities for her classmates. “This burst of infinite energy, containing countless possibilities, is a huge force that attracted us all to SUSTech. The Class of 2023 will work tirelessly to realize the Chinese dream from our new starting point at SUSTech.”
International student Lyly Cheap
The international students were represented by Cambodian undergraduate Lyly Cheap. She was very excited and honored to be at SUSTech. SUSTech is her new home, and it brings both new challenges and opportunities for her. Lyly is happy to have the faculty and students of SUSTech as her mentors and friends, as the increased number of international students open new chapters in the story of SUSTech. They will work together to cope with the future challenges.
Doctoral student Wang Yunqi
Doctoral student Wang Yunqi came to SUSTech after graduating from Columbia University and the University of California Los Angeles. As a representative for the postgraduate students, he quoted Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who told now-Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg when she applied for jobs with him, “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.” He used this quote as an example of SUSTech’s rapid development over the past eight years in the vibrancy of Shenzhen, and called on his new classmates to stay in Shenzhen to make their own rocket ships.
University Council Chairperson Guo Yurong
Following the formalities of the 2019 Convocation, Chairperson Guo Yurong gave the first class for the Class of 2023, titled “Striving for the prosperity of motherland”. She introduced the recent progress of SUSTech, splitting the class into three sections called “Innovative mission for our future leaders”, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Shenzhen”, and “Innovation at SUSTech.” The class sought to introduce the course of the rise of China and the trend of future scientific and technological development, the course and achievements of Shenzhen’s reform and opening up, and the opportunities and challenges in the process of establishing SUSTech.
She encouraged the Class of 2023 to integrate their ideas with the development of China as part of the journey to build a world-class research university in SUSTech that supports the strategic development of Shenzhen and the Greater Bay Area. Chairperson Guo Yurong heartened the resolve of the students for their upcoming academic pursuits, reminding them that they should persist in the face of adversity and achieve their own development.
Translated and Adapted By SUSTech Newshub
Proofread ByLiu Jiaqi, Xia Yingying
Photo BySu Jiahui, Wang Kaiqiang, Zhang Xiaoyan