Before the opening of the ceremony, flag beareres entered the field to the sound of music and warm applause, holding high the flags of their Residential Colleges as the tradition requires. With smiles beaming and caps firmly affixed, students then began the procession.
The audience then watched the graduation video made by the students. In it they declare that “Graduation doesn’t have to mean goodbye. SUSTech, we’re not saying goodbye”. The video played the familiar voices of students who have spent years on the campus, and scences of what has become their home during their time here. The audience erupted into applause many times, while some of the graduates were seen tearing up. Four years of their life spent at SUSTech means having grown up here, and today marks the end of a chapter full of happy memories. They insist on the fact though that it is not a definitive goodbye.
Leaders, special guests and faculty marched in procession
All sing the national anthem
The graduation ceremony was officially opened with a majestic performance of the national anthem.
Tang Tao presides over the ceremony
Wu Chuanyue reads the resolution
SUSTech Vice President and Dean Wu Chuanyue read out the resolution on the granting of 336 undergraduate bachelors degrees for 2017.
Guo Yurong confirms recognition of the decision
Guo Yurong continued the speech inviting to the stage the top 10 outstanding graduates of 2017. They are Shi Yuan, Feng Yuanxiang, Liu Shizhuo, Li Bing, Wu Guanlong, Lin Rongyu, Zhou Zehua, Meng Fei, Geng Mingmeng and Bao Shuhan, and they received the honorable title of “Outstanding Graduate”, the highest honor for SUSTech students.
Their tutors accompanied them to receive the award, and joined in for a group photo.
Tutors and "Top Ten Graduates" line up for a group photo
Some students offered flowers to their high school teachers
SUSTech is a famous pioneer in the field of education reform and from its early beginnings it attracted the support of some of the country’s most reputable high schools. The top 10 outstanding graduates’ high school teachers were invited to witness this important and emotional moment with their students. The students slowly walked up to their former teachers, with music in the background and tears in their eyes, to offer them the flowers and a warm embrace, igniting round upon round of applause from the audience.
Student Representative Feng Yuanxiang’s speech
2017 Student Representative Feng Yuanxiang gave a speech on behalf of all the graduates. He recalled these past four years in fond and humorous words, and talked about growing up as a student, as well as witnessing the university itself growing up. "Thanks to this world-class research university, we make our first step into the world of scientific research. SUSTech provides us with the resources to publish papers and match the levels of Masters and PhD students from China and abroad; let our professors be as proud of us as they would be of their own children.
When I think back at the four years spent here, the times when I had doubts about which direction to take, which course to study, what kind of future I should envision, when these major questions loomed I could always rely on the advice of my tutor professor Chen Shuming.”
Chen Shiyi and Feng Yuanxiang pose for a photo
Feng Yuanxiang used the opportunity to offer President Chen and the university a gift on behalf of the 2017 graduates - a carefully crafted commemorative plate.
Instructor on behalf of Cheng Xin speech
Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Faculty Representative Dr. Chen Xin then took to the stage to address students, sharing with them some wise words:
“We end up spending 90% of our life doing what we think is important, and only 10% enjoying the fruit of these efforts. The process is more important than the result; it is an integral part of our lives. Seize firmly and seriously every opportunity that you can. If you do your best, you can always expect the best possible outcome.”
Guest of honor: Baidu President Zhang Yaqin gives a speech
President of tech giant Baidu and Special Guest Zhang Yaqin was also at the ceremony to give a speech to the audience. He shared some of his life experience with them, saying "there is no best choice, only your choice; there is no perfect life, only your life." He encouraged 2017 graduates of SUSTech to be bold in trial and error, to remember to remain life-long learners, and to not be afraid of competition, that through competition, their potential, their full strength and abilities will flourish. Finally, he congratulated them all, wished them the best, and blessed SUSTech, hoping that all find their own direction, pursue their own heart, and build their own unique way of life.
Speech by President Chen
Greeted by enthusiastic applause, President Chen made his way to the stage to address the audience. He also extended his warm congratulations to the 2017 graduates, to who he said, "You chose SUSTech, a choice off the beaten path, the definition of an innovative university, putting your trust in the university." He pointed out that the SUSTech shoulders the responsibility for exploring modern university reform and innovation and cultivating top-notch innovative talents. Shenzhen has a very particular place in China, as a place of reform and innovation. Its development has been phenomenal and is a hotbed for innovation and entrepreneurship, and it is in the spirit of Shenzhen that SUSTech was born.
He stressed that at SUSTech, we dare to try, we dare to be the first; we have the courage to question, to pursue the spirit of criticism; we have worked hard, and we are ready to seize the day with a strong entrepreneurial spirit; we believe in self-reliance and in self-confidence; we believe we should encourage innovation, tolerance and even failure in the spirit of innovation; we should be pragmatic in the pursuit of excellence ... fuse all these things together, into a "family feeling, a global vision, comprehensive literacy, and innovative abilities", and what you are left with is the quintessential character of SUSTech.
He went on to say: “We firmly believe that China has a key role to play in the 21st century. In the fields of AI, quantum communication, and life sciences just to name a few, China has made great strides and assuming the role of leader. Students from SUSTech, whether they further their careers abroad or domestically, should always carry their country in their heart.
Our quest for the scientific spirit and truth is certain. The faster times change, the more we need to adhere to the laws of science. Understanding the spirit of Science in scientific work, and bringing it to life is the key to building the future.
Our commitment to the humanistic spirit is certain. Cultivating the humanistic spirit of students of science and engineering is a key objective of SUSTech, each of our graduates should not only be considered as a digital machine to operate, we should always cherish the historical and cultural heritage of the world, to awaken the essence of life and the build the link between the past, the present and the future.
Our open-minded thinking and lifelong learning ability, as well as our passionate embrace and interest for new things, are certain. We not only hope to read 10 000 books, but also to travel 10 000 miles. Our global perspective is the way forward.
We are determined build SUSTech into a world-class and global research university. The 2nd phase of the Campus development project has started, academicians and high level talents keep joining our ranks, our School of medicine, School of business and a number of new faculties are ready to be established, training programs at the heart of top medical institutions are already in place, and we are sending and receiving ever more students on international exchange and cooperation programs.”.
President Chen personally congratulates each graduate before handing them their certificate
Not all graduates managed to rein in their emotions once on stage
Joyful scences ensued while each graduate was called up to collect their certificates from the hands of President Chen. Among the audience the parents, professors and other students all beamed with pride at the heart-warming scenes.
"Ode to the motherland" sang in chorus
An interpretation of "Ode to the motherland" was them performed the music slowly filling up the field, everyone singing in a spectacular chorus. The graduates then lined up for a group photo, finally tossing their caps, bringing the ceremony to an end. The young men and women are now at a turning point in their life, one chapter closes while another, more exciting one hopefully is about to begin.
It is understood that from the 2017 graduates, 98% have graduated, of which more than half will go to well-known colleges and universities in China and abroad, such as Cambridge University, Oxford University, University of Chicago and various others. From the ones that decide to enter the job market, 90% will remain in Guangdong where opportunities are plentiful, with almost half being recruited by Huawei, ZTE, Tencent and other local high-tech enterprises.
After 4 years of toil and hard work, graduates finally toss their caps
Text: Yu Yin, Liu Xiangwen
Photo: Su Jiahui, Wang Kaiqiang, Wu Bingzhen
Edited by: Jeremy Welburn