ShanghaiTech Holds 2019 Commencement

ON2019-06-30TAG: ShanghaiTech UniversityCATEGORY: Features

On June 29, ShanghaiTech held its 2019 commencement and degree conferral ceremony. Chairman of the University Council and CAS Academician Li Ruxin presided over the ceremony honoring ShanghaiTech's 270 undergraduate degree candidates, 140 ShanghaiTech-CAS master's degree students, and 69 ShanghaiTech-CAS PhD candidates. In the audience were the graduates’family and friends, ShanghaiTech alumni, faculty members and media in attendance. Honored guests included Chinese Academy of Engineering Academician and Chairman of the first session of ShanghaiTech Governing Board Xu Kuangdi, representatives from Shanghai Municipal Government, Chinese Academy of Sciences and enterprises that have contributed to ShanghaiTech’s development, university leadership, University Faculty Committee members and ShanghaiTech’s Academic Degree Evaluation Committee. 

A video clip made by the 2019 graduating class was shown.“The place where the dreams are made” featured memorable moments of the past four years.

President Jiang delivered a speech, encouraging students to work hard and make their country proud. “Without the hard work of generations before you, there will be no peace and security today. Without the continued efforts of society, Chinese people wouldn’t experience prosperity and happiness. Every graduate has a responsibility to generations past and present. ShanghaiTech expects you to give back to your society,” he said.  President Jiang cited the openness and inclusiveness of ShanghaiTech, saying, “ShanghaiTech has benefited from its vision of globalization. The university will adhere to opening up by promoting the establishment of equal, mutually beneficial and inclusive cooperative relations with outstanding universities, institutions and corporations at home and abroad. ShanghaiTech will further strengthen exchanges in education and research, and draw on the achievements of all human civilizations and progress, and in turn, contribute to the building of a global community.” He reminded the 2019 graduates, many of whom will continue their studies abroad, No matter where you are, you must remember that China has developed and you always have your country’s support. You must treat your teachers, classmates and local residents with friendliness. You must be diligent and eager, modest and courteous because you are representing ShanghaiTech and China.”

Honored guest Xu Kuangdi reflected on the development of National Southwest Associated University, one of the most primitive and short-lived institutions of higher education, which brought together the best professors, scientists and students of that time. He inspired the students with descriptions of the difficult times during which the university developed. “History has proved that under the arduous conditions, the best ‘higher education’ resources were preserved and passed on from generation to generation, which has great significance for the construction and development of the new China,”he said. 

Li Ruxin announced the name list of 28 students winning Graduate Excellence Award of Shanghai, among them 4 undergraduates Tang Yifeng, Zhang Jiaxin, Zhuang Lei, Xie Zhiqiang winning 2019 President’s Award. President Jiang Mianheng, Vice President and Provost Yin Jie, Vice Presidents Zhu Zhiyuan, Lu Xionggang and Ding Hao, as well as Secretary of Committee for Discipline Inspection Wu Qiang awarded the certificates. The President’s Award is the highest award given to ShanghaiTech students. The awardees are not only strong in study and research, but also take an active part in student clubs and social activities. 

School of Physical Science and Technology graduating senior Tang Yifeng, who has proven himself excellent in activities, research and contests, represented his classmates in a speech at the ceremony. “We have seen our school develop from a construction site to a modern campus, and now it is time to say goodbye,” he said. “Rooted in ShanghaiTech, each of us has found our own interests and pursuits. I am grateful to the University for providing us with a flexible learning environment and rich resources. I admire the students who have stuck to their dreams. Their determination will help them realize their values.”

Graduate student representative Li Xiaoting, whose research deciphering the crystal structure of human cannabinoid receptor CB2 in Cell this year, gave a speech thanking the university for its supportive environment. “From 2013 to 2019, I witnessed the development of ShanghaiTech and its dedication to bring educational innovation to life,” she said, and called  on all the graduates to find their calling doing work to benefit society and their country, no matter what kind of job they choose to take after graduation.  

Vice Dean of School of Information Science and Technology Yu Jingyi gave a humorous speech on behalf of faculty. “Four years ago, just as you were all asked to explain why you wanted to come here during your admissions interview, I was asked that question in my job interview with President Jiang,” he remembered. “We are the brave ShanghaiTechers,” he proclaimed, praising the students for taking a chance and taking a road less traveled by choosing to attend a brand-new university. He told the stories of 2019 Turing Awardees Geoff Hinton, Yann LeCun and Yoshua Bengio who were constantly rejected early in their careers but never gave up. Then he shared his experience as a student and commended his students for achieving a dream that Yu had had 20 years prior, creating a 3D dynamic map. “We gather together because of a common goal and strive to put it into practice.”

The 2019 graduates bestowed a piece of artwork (which can also be scanned as a QR code) to the university, featuring the faces of each of the 278 undergraduates’ smiling faces.

The graduates were asked to turn and face the audience. After the graduates waved at their family members in the crowd, they then bowed deeply to express their appreciation to their family and then to the faculty. 

After the graduation ceremony, the graduates migrated to their respective schools for celebration activities. School of Information Science and Technology had prepared specially decorated cupcakes bearing the name of each graduate. Students in School of Material Science and Technology hurriedly touched up their make up and walked the red carpet to pose before photographers on their way into their celebration. At School of Life Science and Technology, graduates posed in cutouts of famous science journal covers. 

SIST graduate Hu Junyu said he enjoyed Vice Dean Yu Jingyi's speech. "He was my lab professor but that's the first time I'd heard him use the phrase ‘Brave ShanghaiTechers,' he said, I thought it was a really cool name for us." His mother enjoyed the video presentation by the students at the graduation ceremony and the personalized cupcakes at SIST’s celebration.“When my son arrived at ShanghaiTech it was still a construction site. He gave up his dream of a going to a famous school because he was attracted to ShanghaiTech’s vision and what the school could offer. We supported him, even though it seemed risky. Four years later, we can see that it was all worth it,”she said. In the fall her son will continue his studies at GeorgiaTech. 

“The best moment was when the president directed us to transfer our tassels from right to left,” said SLST graduate Hu Hao Qing, who will continue her PhD at Hong Kong University. As she took photos after the ceremony with her parents, who had traveled from Shandong Province to support her, her mother, visibly moved, added, “I almost cried during the ceremony. She worked so hard these past four years and this school has treated her so well. I’m so happy and so proud of her.” 

39% of 270 undergraduates of Class of 2019 will continue their study abroad in 12 nations and areas. Among them, nearly 50% receive offers from top 50 universities worldwide. 37% of undergraduates of Class of 2019 choose to continue their study in Chinese universities. 18% of undergraduate of Class of 2019 have accepted job offers and will enter the workplace. Among the 140 master degree students of Class of 2019, half of them choose to pursue PhD study overseas, 3% of them choose to continue PhD study in Chinese universities and 1% of them will set up their own startup. 32% of the PhD graduates will take postdoc positions overseas and 17% of them will take postdoc positions in China.