Yu Lizhong at Commencement 2020

Yu at podium
May 29 2020

Watch Chancellor Yu's entire speech at NYU Shanghai's 2020 Commencement on Youtube and Bilibili


Dear students and family members,

Dear faculty and staff,

It is such a pity we are unable to get together due to the epidemic. We cannot experience all the excitement on campus and exchange our best wishes at the graduation ceremony. However, at this moment, I know that we are experiencing the same feelings. I can feel your excitement and see all your smiling faces through the screen. Dear graduates, I’d like to extend my most heartfelt congratulations on your graduation. Dear parents, I’d like to express my sincere thanks to you for your trust and support. I’d also like to extend my sincere gratitude to all my colleagues, faculty and staff, for your commitment and contributions. 

As the first Sino-US joint research university, NYU Shanghai has impressed the world with its unique approach to higher education. Every class of graduates has added to that glory with outstanding achievements. This year, facing the unexpected global epidemic, NYU Shanghai has further proved the value and significance of constructing a university dedicated to multi-cultural integration, and to cultivating international, innovative talents with global vision and a sense of social responsibility. Please, let us all cherish and protect our alma mater with our own contributions. 

It is my firm conviction that today, NYU Shanghai is a positive example of international collaboration for higher education.  It is so vital to the future of humanity that we achieve mutual understanding and integration among different cultures. Younger generations with global vision and the ability to communicate and cooperate across cultures will be crucial to resolving difficult global issues. I admire NYU and ECNU for their vision and appreciate their solid cooperation and support. Even more, we can never forget the support and help of the Shanghai Municipal Government and Pudong New District. Sincere thanks to all who have given kindness and help to our young university. Many thanks to all the friends who facilitated and assisted the construction and growth of NYU Shanghai!

Dear students, you are the 4th class of graduates at this university and also the creators of NYU Shanghai’s history. You will be the explorers of the new era and the pioneers of the new world. Surely you will be the bond connecting different countries and cultures around the world.  Please bear in mind your responsibilities and missions.

With mixed feelings, I’d like to let you know that I will “graduate” together with you.  In three days, I will officially retire from my post as Chancellor. Though I never imagined it would be at such an unusual time, and in such an unusual way, it is time for me to bid farewell to all of you. From NYU Shanghai’s conception, establishment to development, my heart has always been tied to this unique university and tied to the hearts of all of you. Now, since I am over 70, I can no longer continue with NYU Shanghai on the road to its bright future.  It is the right time for me to take full retirement and allow someone else to take over my duty. I think you can understand. 

It is my honor to take this opportunity to introduce Prof. Tong Shijun, who will be our new Chancellor beginning June 1. He is a well-known scholar and philosopher with a deep understanding of Western and Chinese philosophies, as well as an author of many publications. He has been involved in academic activities internationally and highly recognized by his colleagues both at home and abroad. Prof. Tong earned his doctoral degree in University of Bergen, Norway in 1994. He was a visiting scholar at the University of Bergen, a guest professor at Philipps-Universität in Marburg, Germany, and a Fulbright Research Scholar in Columbia University. In 2011, he became a Foreign Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Dr. Tong also has rich administrative experience in higher education and research institutions. He is modest and gentle, an excellent communicator and happy to be a friend of faculty, staff and students. From the beginning, he has been involved in the establishment and development of NYU Shanghai and given his strong support. I am sure NYU Shanghai will sustainably develop and continue to flourish under the joint leadership of Shijun and Jeff.

Please accept my most heartfelt wishes for a bright future for all of you!