NYU Shanghai Holds Very First Graduation
On May 28th, the pioneering class of 2017 at NYU Shanghai earned their NYU bachelor’s degrees as well as their NYU Shanghai diplomas. The 264 graduates, who hail from China, the United States and 31 other countries, led the way into the hall of Shanghai’s Oriental Arts Center packed with professors, friends, siblings and proud parents who travelled from around the world to celebrate the very first graduation of the first Sino-US joint research university.
The ceremony opened with a message of congratulations from Vice Premier Liu Yandong to the class of 2017 that also applauded NYU Shanghai, saying it “… has achieved remarkable success in innovating school-running system and mechanism, cultivating outstanding talents and boosting cultural exchanges.”
On behalf of NYU Shanghai faculty, Provost Joanna Waley-Cohon advised the graduates to appreciate the many meanings of connectedness, and to exercise empathy in their life ahead, by referring to Confucius and English novelist E.M. Forster.
Before joining Chancellor Yu Lizhong to confer the degrees, NYU President Andrew Hamilton helped to open the ceremony by addressing the students, saying “The members the Class of 2017 graduating today from NYU Shanghai are pioneers: they are the first class to graduate from this extraordinary experiment in global education. They also are the embodiment of our hopes for the future as they leave this campus ready to assume the responsibilities of global citizens and leaders in the arts, sciences, humanities, business and engineering."
Andre Koo, Stern '94, president of the NYU Pan-Asia Alumni Association, also saluted the new members of the NYU alumni community.
Drawing cheers from their classmates, Roxanne Roman ‘17 and Zhao Zeyu ‘17 joined the platform party and delivered inspired remarks that proved to be, for many, one of the soaring highlights of the event.
Chancellor Yu Lizhong and Vice Chancellor Jeff Lehman offered the commencement remarks. Yu asked the graduates to carry forward NYU Shanghai’s academic values of independent thinking, innovation and creativity as well as its spirit of openness and inclusiveness to the advance of human beings and our society.
“The world needs creative talents with global vision, who are good at cross-cultural communication and cooperation. I hope you can connect your ‘dream’ with the ‘dream of human beings’ and the ‘dream of the world,’” he said.
Lehman called on the graduates to treat people in their lives ahead always “...as ends in themselves...and not merely as a means” and concluded his hopes for the pioneering class of 2017 by reminding them “...may your steps lead you often back to Shanghai, back to Pudong. For you will always be members of the NYU Shanghai family. And we will always be happy to welcome you home.”
On a day of many firsts for NYU Shanghai, both Chancellors also awarded the university’s newly minted Medal of Honor to two prominent figures, China’s former ambassador to the United States, Zhou Wenzhong, and real estate developer, Wang Shi. Both made brief congratulatory remarks to the graduating students, their families and dignitaries in attendance.
Following the conferral of degrees as well as the passing of the NYU Shanghai Torch from the graduating class to the rising senior class, the NYU Shanghai Chorale closed the ceremony with a spirited rendition of NYU Shanghai’s Alma Mater.
On Saturday and Sunday May 27-28, Shanghai’s iconic landmark -- the Oriental Pearl TV Tower was lit up in violet in honor of NYU Shanghai’s first graduating class, in the same way the Empire State Building is illuminated each year to salute NYU’s graduation.
About NYU Shanghai: In October 2012, NYU Shanghai was established in 2012 as the very first Sino-US joint research university, thanks to the partnership of New York University and East China Normal University, and the strong support from the city of Shanghai and NYU’s global network.