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Pressing on, You'll Go Far; Thinking anew, You'll Achieve More.

Commencement Speech,

Beijing University of Technology (BJUT), 2022

Nie Zuoren, President of BJUT and Member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering

 (July 5, 2022)

Dear faculty and staff members, parents and friends, and Class of 2022,

Good morning!

Today, we are holding a virtual commencement ceremony to celebrate our graduating Class of 2022. Here, on behalf of the University, I would like to congratulate all you amazing graduates on the successful completion of your studies. To the families, teachers, and friends of today's graduates: Congratulations to you as well! It is your loving support and sacrifice that has brought our students this far. For this, you have our deepest respect and admiration.

This year's graduation season still faces many challenges, with the effects of the pandemic continuing to be ever-present. When COVID cases surged in April and May, our Pingleyuan campus was surrounded by medium and high-risk communities and BJUT became the university locked down for the longest in Beijing. However, all us BJUTers have responded actively and responsibly and shown to all our spirit and strength. We devoted ourselves to voluntary work while completing online studies. We smoothly relocated a number of students and kept the campus in order and everyone safe. Though being caught off guard at the beginning, we have reacted calmly and swiftly, ensuring zero infection on campus. As your President, I am sincerely proud of you!

Of course, due to the pandemic, you may have some regrets and feel like that your campus life was limited in some ways. But these special years in BJUT and your unforgettable experience have also given you rare opportunities to gain valuable insights and grow mature. In 2019, you joined the grand parade and performed patriotic songs for the 70th National Day celebration. In 2020, when the pandemic first hit, you overcame difficulties and celebrated the University's 60th anniversary in that golden fall. In 2021, your excellent work ensured the success of the celebratory events for the CPC's centenary. In 2022, your volunteer services helped present the Winter Olympic Games that will go down in human history. One day, when you look back, you will think fondly of these wonderful moments.

Dear graduates, from today on, you will leave this tiny "ivory tower", an area of 960,000 square meters that is merely one ten-millionth of the vast motherland, to embrace the bigger world. You have already finished the roads paved by your teachers and families, and now it is time for you to pave your own, along which you are expected to shape yourself into a respectable person. There is more than one path to success, but no one can make it without a kind, grateful, patriotic, conscientious, curious and innovative heart.

First, I wish you to have a heart full of gratitude. China is known as a "State of etiquette" and requiting others' kindness is our nation's traditional virtue. We are grateful for our parents' love, our teachers' guidance, our friends' support, and even Nature's gifts such as the sunshine and air. Having personally experienced the unprecedented pandemic, we must be more grateful than ever to those who have stayed at their posts to maintain a normal campus life, including the dorm keepers, the canteen staff, the campus security personnel and the supermarket clerks. We must also thank our counselors and classmates whose professional and practical help has been constantly available. In the future, may you also spread justice, kindness and friendship to help and warm others. As an ancient Chinese saying goes, "The water flows downwards". It may sound simple, but it contains a profound and noble message: the willingness to nourish the roots of everything. "Great virtue is like water": to benefit all should be our true heart.

Second, I wish you to have the ambition to serve the country. The Chinese nation has achieved a tremendous transformation, from obtaining independence and becoming prosperous, to growing in strength and fulfilling the first centenary's goal of achieving moderate prosperity in all respects. I know that, because of the pandemic and the complex international situation, you may feel anxious about the future. But remember, storms in nature do not rage all day and inclement weather in our life journey will always pass. Today's world is far from being peaceful, but Chinese college students of the new era are lucky to live in one of the best times in the country's history. "A roc soars not by a light feather and a horse gallops not on one foot." It is the patriotic passion, firm conviction and selfless dedication of countless individuals and families that has forged our flourishing age, driven the revival of our great nation, and created miracles one after another against all the odds. I hope that you will always aspire to make your due contribution to building a strong country and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, no matter where you are and what you do.


Third, I wish you to have lifelong passion for innovation. As an ancient Chinese adage advises, "If you can make things better for one day, you should be able to do this for every day." Innovation is the soul of national progress and the inexhaustible source of its prosperity. China has entered the fast track of scientific and technological innovation in frontier fields. In recent years, BJUT has also achieved much success in the field of innovation. This year, for the first time, we had published, as the primary author, a paper in the prestigious journal 'Science'. We won the second prize of the National Natural Science Award as the leading institution. We established the first scientific and technological innovation platform among Chinese universities to focus on urban carbon neutrality. We have also contributed to the Chinese space station "Tiangong", the Beidou Satellite, the Beijing Daxing International Airport, and other important projects. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, "Pursuing progress is the most precious trait of youth. It's also the most ardent hope of the Party and people." Our world today is living through accelerating changes unseen in a century, with an ever-quickening pace in scientific and technological development and the building of a community with a shared future for all. However, great changes and challenges contain great opportunities. I hope that you will follow our motto "Persistent Striving, the Principle; Pursuit of Innovation, the Path" and contribute your wisdom and strength to future great undertakings with perseverance and integrity.

At the 2021 commencement ceremony, the Class of 2020 returned and joined the largest-ever graduation event in our history. Today, I am also inviting all of you to return to your alma mater and join us for the ceremony next year, the year after, or any year in the future!

Dear Class of 2022, a new era presents new challenges to the new masters of our times. Last year, I encouraged all graduates by saying "With aspirations and ambitions, you'll fly high one day." This year, I want to tell you all "Pressing on, you'll go far; Thinking anew, you'll achieve more". I hope you will always bear in mind the importance of gratitude, patriotism and innovation, and achieve great success and realize your own dream in the future!

To conclude, I wish all the graduates a bright future.

Thank you.