Each year when gardenia blossoms, it is a sad time for graduates to say goodbye. ECNU’s 2017 commencement ceremony was held on the morning of June 21 on the lawn in front of the library at Minhang campus, attended by more than 7,000 graduates and their families and friends, as well as university leaders, including Tong Shijun, Chen Qun, Ren Youqun, Yang Changli, Fang Ping, Mei Bing, Li Zhibin, Zhou Aoying, Dai Liyi.
A total of 7,566 students graduated from ECNU this year, among whom 3,950 attained a master’s degree, 3,511 bachelor’s degree and 105 junior college degree.
“You are the forever pride of ECNU and all of us pride ourselves on the university,” Chen Qun told the graduates in an address at the ceremony.
The ECNU president acclaimed four seniors who have made distinguished achievements. They are Du Jinjin with the Meng Xiancheng College who opened a “Fun Class” for middle school students, Wu Yuefei with the School of Social Development who provided a record 1,000 hours of voluntary services in a year as deputy leader of the Social Work Rescue Team to the Earthquake-hit Area of Ludian, Chen Yating from Taiwan who proposed suggestions on university management during a meeting with the ECNU president, and David Janna from Colombia who was selected to be a Person Moving ECNU in the year of 2016.
Chen also gave the graduates a glimpse of enlightenment on their new life ahead, telling them stories of prestigious scholar Qian Gurong, a centenarian with the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, and Tang Chendong who graduated from the Department of Biology in 1999.
Chen said Qian has been living a simple life regardless of his remarkable contributions to the education cause and Tang has devoted his whole life to the protection of the Chongming Island, an alluvial island at the mouth of the Yangtze River in eastern China.
“I hope you can learn from them and pursue a frugal but colorful spiritual life,” Chen said.
At the ceremony, 416 students graduated summa cum laude, receiving the Shanghai Excellent Graduates title, and 442 were awarded the title of ECNU Excellent Graduates.
University Council chairman Tong Shijun granted certificates to 11 winners of the “Best Teacher in the Eyes of Students” and 8 winners of the “Most Lovable Person Around Graduates”.
Since 2001, it has become an annual event for ECNU students to vote for the best teacher at their graduation year. The “Best Teacher in the Eyes of Students” honor go to those who won the vote for five consecutive years.
Lyu Zhifeng, associate professor with the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, and winner of the first prize of the National College Young Teachers’ Teaching Skill Contest and Shanghai May 1 Labor Medal, talked about his 12-year life as a teacher in ECNU and exhorted the students to learn to find peace regardless of life’s ups and downs.
Tang Chendong, deputy director of Shanghai afforestation and landscape administration bureau and director of the Chongming Dongtan Birds Nature Reserve Management Office, and winner of national “Outstanding Party Member”, shared with the students his understandings about life in the past 18 years he had dedicated to environmental protection, urging them to take into account social responsibility and the trend of the times while making career choices.
Chen Ziwei, a major of software engineering, delivered an address representing the graduates. Chen minors in PR and won the first prize of China University Students PR Plan Contest.
“I love ECNU and it will be always my home,” David Janna from Colombia said. The graduating international business major of the International College of Chinese Studies preferred to come to ECNU to further study rather than New York University after finishing senior high school in his home country. In the past five years, he studied hard and volunteered to donate blood and teach in poverty-stricken schools of Yunnan Province, which earned him the “Person Moving ECNU” title.
David, who will go on taking advanced studies at the Tsinghua University, expressed his gratitude to ECNU for its care and love for him.“We foreign students would not have had the opportunity to realize our ‘China Dream’without the stage ECNU has provided us,” he said.
The university also conferred the Letter of Appointment as Liaison Ambassador to 209 graduates at the ceremony, who will act as liaisons between the alma mater and graduates, and between graduates as well.
Meanwhile, vice president Zhou Aoying led an oath-taking ceremony for graduates majoring in teaching. Following the ceremony, a graduation party was held on the night.