On the evening of July 5, Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) held a socially-distanced 2020 Commencement Ceremony on the grounds of Green Pine Capital Stadium. SUSTech University Council Chairperson Yurong GUO, President Shiyi CHEN, Former University Council Chairperson Ming LI, Honored Guest Green Pine Capital Partners founder Wei LI and other honored guests watched over proceedings.
They were all here to recognize the efforts of the 933 undergraduates, 411 graduates, and their tutors. Their parents and well-wishers watched via live-streams from across mainland China and around the world.
Before the ceremony, three video clips were played on the big screen. “To a better future for yourself” showed the story of the master’s graduates, such as seminars, dedicated research, professional choices, and community life. It showed the spirit of hard work, struggle, optimism, innovation, and responsibility of SUSTechers while expressing their sincere blessings. “Chasing your dream,” told the story of seven SUSTech in the form of monologues from their perspective, initially filmed in 2016. After four years at SUSTech, they have all had different experiences but are all chasing into the distance on the path they choose. The original song “Say goodbye to the Banyan Tree” debuted as a music video. The artistic perspective was placed on the growth in the hearts of the SUSTech community.
Before the ceremony started, six proud students carried the flags of the residential colleges aloft, continuing the tradition of leading the procession of officials, faculty members, and students into the commencement ceremony.
Acting Vice President Yusheng ZHAO hosted the ceremony and invited everyone to stand for the national anthem. The rousing rendition of “The March of the Volunteers” filled the stadium, after which he introduced all our special guests.
Vice President Dongxiao ZHANG read the resolution of the degree evaluation committee. 933 undergraduate were awarded bachelor degrees. 377 graduate students received a master’s degree in a joint training program from SUSTech and Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT). Fifteen doctoral candidates received joint SUSTech-HIT doctoral degrees.
University Council Chairperson Yurong GUO then declared the top ten undergraduates of 2020.
She invited them on stage to receive their honors, followed by the top postgraduate students. 38 students received the honorary title of Magna Cum Laude Graduate Students. 42 students were awarded the honorary title of Magna Cum Laude masters’ students. Four students were awarded the honorary title of Magna Cum Laude Ph.D. students.
Jintao ZHENG (’20, Shude College, Electrical and Electronic Engineering) spoke on behalf of his fellow graduating classmates. He spoke about his experience at SUSTech, saying that he has become a more determined young man as a result of his education here. As he leaves campus today, his mission will allow him to explore a new direction that integrates his personal development with the development of the nation. The influence of SUSTech’s culture and spiritual pillars have encouraged him to overcome the challenges in front of him. Jintao ZHENG will be heading to Huawei HiSilicon as a chip development engineer and will contribute to China’s native chip development industry.
Ziyi ZHANG from the Department of Biomedical Engineering spoke on behalf of graduate students, reprising her role from two years ago at the 2018 Convocation Ceremony. She said that SUSTech imbued her with a sense of responsibility and the lofty mission of continuing her studies despite the struggles surrounding her. She would continue to persevere and be brave in the face of challenges, remain inclusive, and strive for excellence. The influence of SUSTech will never leave her as she takes the influence of SUSTech with her on the next step of her scientific research journey.
Professor Liyuan ZHANG from the Department of Physics represented the faculty at the ceremony. He encouraged all the students to study hard, work hard, persevere, and remain healthy. The Class of 2020 was recommended to learn from their previous studies to apply their knowledge to new positions, and not give up easily. They should forge ahead to make vital progress while remaining humble and down-to-earth. Liyuan ZHANG reminded the graduating class to remain healthy in body, mind, and soul so they can continue to contribute to society.
Green Pine Capital founder Wei LI spoke as the Honored Guest of SUSTech. Concentrating on the theme of being fearless and upright, Wei LI said, “When the country needs them, the fearless and upright must be reckless. When society is in danger, the courageous will always come forward. When vulnerable groups encounter difficulties, the morally upstanding will always lend a helping hand.” Wei LI encouraged students to show courage and responsibility in the next step of their journey, remain passionate and not to be afraid of challenges.
To the warm applause of the audience, President Shiyi CHEN addressed the crowd with the speech around the theme of “believe in the future, science, dreams, themselves, and love.” In his speech, President Shiyi CHEN welcomed the students to the first-ever Commencement Ceremony to be held under the starry skies of Shenzhen. He noted that under the complex circumstances of the global COVID-19 outbreak, SUSTech opted to hold one of the few outdoor and offline commencement ceremonies to take place in 2020, anywhere in the world.
In reflecting on the challenges of 2020, President Shiyi CHEN pointed out that the SUSTech community had come together to shine a bright light on the dark times to find a positive path for the future. Pointing the bright stars pinpointing the dark sky above the students, he covered the topic in four areas: belief in science, belief in dreams, believe in yourself, and the power of love.
President Shiyi CHEN said that historically, the numerous disasters experienced by humanity had represented opportunities for technological innovation. The power of science lies in our courage to face reality and the courage to challenge difficulties through science and technology. The scientific spirit is truth-seeking, pragmatic, dedicated and responsible, and is the source of strength when we face difficulties.
2020 is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Shenzhen and the 10th anniversary of the establishment of SUSTech. President Shiyi CHEN said, “You have personally witnessed the great miracle of Shenzhen’s development, and also participated in the creation of the history of SUSTech.” Shenzhen and SUSTech are vivid stories of dreams leading and creating miracles.
“Change for excellence, Innovation for future” is the spirit of SUSTech. He pointed out that there is no smooth sailing in life. Students should look to the present and believe in themselves and start their new journey in the face of new circumstances. President Shiyi CHEN looked at how the SUSTech community united to support China and the world against the COVID-19 outbreak.
“With love in your hearts, light in your eyes, responsibility on your shoulders, and a journey to take, you will define the future of the world.”
President Shiyi CHEN hoped that the SUSTech spiritual pillars of “research, innovation, and entrepreneurship” would continue to hold firm within the lives of the Class of 2020. He trusted that graduates staying within the Greater Bay Area would contribute to the region as they write a new chapter in science and technology that serves the nation.
He closed his speech with a self-written poem, entitled “Believe.”
Believe your dreams.
Believe in today.
Believe that you are loved very much.
Believe that you may be that light for someone else.
Believe that you have the power to make a difference.
Believe that each change should serve a thoughtful purpose.
Believe together; we make the world a better place.
Believe in your vision, when others might not.
Believe you are not all alone, with behind you hundreds of SUSTechers.
Believe the best is yet to come.
Believe in yourself.
I believe in you.
The 2020 Commencement Ceremony ended in the campus song “All the Way South” brought by the graduate choir.
July 5 and 6 will feature degree-awarding ceremonies from each of the degree-awarding schools and colleges of SUSTech.
The 2020 Commencement Ceremony was held in strict compliance with epidemic prevention standards.