Speech at the 2021 Commencement Ceremony and Degree Conferment Ceremony
Dear teachers, parents, and students,
On this most important of days, we hold the 2021 commencement ceremony and degree conferment ceremony for the 2,237 undergraduates and 212 postgraduates who have completed their studies. On behalf of the University, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to all these graduates and my heartfelt thanks to the faculty and staff who have worked hard and made painstaking efforts to facilitate the growth and intellectual development of the students entrusted to our care! I would also like to express my highest respect to all the parents for their selfless dedication and encouragement!
Next, to our students: Your last year at our school has been an extraordinary and unforgettable one. During this time, the country withstood some of the greatest changes in global and national relations in a century, and a pandemic unmatched in scope, speed of spread, and cultural impact unmatched in the last 100 years. Under the thoughtful leadership of the CCP Central Committee, we overcame these difficulties together, engaged in epidemic prevention and control, withstood severe challenges at home and abroad, witnessed the completion of our nation’s poverty alleviation initiatives, and saw our society improve by every measure. This period was also one of great development for our university. Our new library, Global Village, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hall, and Center for International Exchange have recently been completed and overlook our majestic campus. We have successfully passed careful examination and evaluation by the Ministry of Education, and JISU is now the first and only private university in China to have been granted the right to confer master’s degrees. It is also the only private higher educational institution in China to have been officially renamed and recognized as a comprehensive university. JISU has risen in reputation and is acknowledged as one of Jilin Province’s great universities. In both 2020 and 2021, it was ranked first among Chinese private educational institutions for social sciences on the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities. During this period, the school formulated and implemented a strategic development plan for the next decade and embarked on a new entrepreneurial journey for school development. JISU is steadily improving its quality and reputation, and the construction of the university’s “six highlands” has ushered in a new era of development. Our university is bounding towards its goal of becoming a world-class non-profit international studies university that is application-oriented, thoroughly cosmopolitan, and yet distinctly and proudly Chinese.
Dear students, universities are essential centers of thought and education in modern society and the completion of a university degree is a significant milestone in the lives of many. The most important function of university education is to cultivate healthy, confident, respectful, and socially responsible people. And the most fundamental duty of a university is to guide students so that they may develop a correct worldview and appropriate and mature values. During the opening ceremony four years ago, I informed you of my expectations for you to be honest and trustworthy and to have both the morality and talent required to live a valuable life. Today, four years later, I am excited and pleased to see that you have had a fulfilling college experience. You have worked hard and matched my expectations. During the past four years, you, our accomplished students, have won 749 awards in various subject competitions, innovation and entrepreneurship competitions, and sports competitions, of which 380 were national awards. Our volunteer team won the Lei Feng “Four 100” Best Volunteer Service Project from the Chinese Central Communications Department, and 2,662 students have been awarded scholarships. Additionally, many students have successfully passed the postgraduate entrance examination, been admitted to government institutions, received offers from well-known enterprises, or started businesses. Finally, your participation in the International Cultural and Art Festival, 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games promotional film shoot, epidemic prevention and control volunteer services, and other activities has broadened your horizons, increased your talent, and helped you develop as both students and citizens of our nation.
Dear students, commencement is not an end, but a beginning. After graduating from college, you will bid farewell to your alma mater, go forth into society, and start a new life. As you prepare to embark on this exciting next stage of your journey, I have great hope for you.
Beloved students, set up lofty ideals and firm beliefs—the path to success begins with these. The great polymath and poet Tagore once said words to the effect that there is no better beacon than that which illuminates the way forward. As you forge ahead, do so always with direction and intent. Ideals and beliefs are the embodiment of one’s world outlook and values. As a source of strength, ideals will determine what kind of life you lead. Beliefs will determine how far you can go. They are the spiritual pillars of life. Many successful people of humble birth make great achievements because they have ideals and are willing to live by them. The lofty ideals and firm beliefs of the young are the driving force of a country and a nation. Li Dazhao once said, "Young people should make contributions to world civilization and mankind. Young people should devote their youth to the development of the society, their country, and the whole world.” Dear students, I hope you will always harbor great love for our great motherland. Your life will be of greater consequence when you channel your ideals towards bettering our nation. Serve the country with your heart and soul, and your life will be meaningful and fulfilling.
I hope your wills and spirits will remain forever strong and that you never stop striving. General Secretary Xi Jinping reiterated a critical message to the younger generations on many occasions: “Young people will gain success and joy in their growth and will also face difficulties and pressure. They should deal with temporary success and failure with a correct attitude. Do not be made dizzy with success, nor be discouraged by failure.” Dear students, no matter what kind of career you choose, I hope you will not be afraid of hardship, difficulties, or setbacks. Shen Congwen said that “adversity is also one of life’s gifts.” From ancient times to the present, those who achieve great things must hold themselves to lofty ideals and principles. Effort does not guarantee success, but a lack of effort guarantees failure. As one great athlete said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Aim high and always aim for the best. Have ambition. Ambition is the driving force for success. Strive for your goals. Youth will shine through hardships and life will be made better through hard work!
Always be willing to improve yourself. If your youth is idled away, you will regret as much in your declining years. Life does not favor free riders, and success will come when opportunity meets preparation. You are living in a great time. You have the best opportunities, but you shoulder great responsibilities. The fruits of the information revolution—represented by the internet, AI, big data, and cloud computing—are ripening. Innovation is the most important tool for leading a nation to high-quality development. In the face of increasingly fierce international and talent competition, you should cherish your precious youth, be diligent in learning, constantly improve yourselves, and keeping up with the rapid development of the times in terms of your vision, ideas, and understanding. You should integrate knowledge with practice, guide your practice with knowledge, and seek knowledge through practice and experience to lay a solid foundation for your advancement and constantly improved understanding of new developments throughout the world. You should cultivate your morals, remain humble and willing to learn, develop your virtues, and further your career through talent. You should expand your knowledge and skills by way of diligence and practice and strive to contribute to the great rejuvenation of China that is defining the 21st century! You should become pillars of the nation! Dear students, I hope you cherish your youth, make the best of it, and live a colorful life without regret.
Dear students, the world belongs to the young. I hope you are guided by a vision that encompasses the globe and that you will explore the cultures and nations of our vast planet and learn to serve as bridges between the East and the West. Today, you set sail and on a new journey. The future is yours, and it is as wide and brilliant as the ocean on a clear day. We will be here, and we will be waiting for your good news. Trust yourselves and embrace this new era of unlimited opportunities. As the school anthem goes, “We are proud of our school today, and the school will be proud of us tomorrow!”
Dear students, your alma mater will always be your home. And we, your teachers and mentors, will always have your back. We will keep you forever in our hearts.
I wish you great success and the best of fortunes!
Thank you, everyone!