This June, a total of 3749 students from the Class of 2020 graduated from NNU and their hard-earned degrees were commemorated in a unique way. Due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, mass-gatherings are not feasible at the moment. However, on June 19th, NNU prepared a virtual ceremony for the Class of 2020 and it was broadcast live on two mainstream video-sharing platforms in China, douyin and bilibili. More than 50,000 people attended the celebration and witnessed this special commencement ceremony.
The keynote speech of the ceremony was delivered by Guoxiang Chen, President of Nanjing Normal University, with a theme featuring how to efficiently overcome difficulties when you are young. He congratulated the Class of 2020 on their splendid achievements gained during their undergraduate studies and encouraged them to rise above the challenges in their future life just as they have during this pandemic. He also pointed out that the Alma Mater would always welcome them most heartily at any time, “You will always be our students and we will always be expecting you to come home”.
Next, four student speakers shared their distinct yet very colorful stories of the past four years. Wenxi Liu from School of Chinese Language and Literature who made it to the Great Hall of the People as one of the top 10 candidates in the CCTV Host Competition for University Students. Student representative Yujing Jiang from School of Physics and Technology talked about her various working experiences on campus and beyond, as well as her determination to spend a year teaching in a poverty-stricken area as a volunteer teacher. Nanhai Zhou, a student from the School of Life Sciences, who has a published paper in one of the top SCI journals, has received offers to study for a PhD degree from Peking University and Tsinghua University, and international student, Xiurong Liu from Malaysia, who studied in the School of Education Science, who said she felt at home and loved here at NNU and that she was blessed to have met a bunch of great friends on the most beautiful campus in the East. These four student representatives all extended their gratitude to NNU and best wishes for it and the Class of 2020.
Prof. Fenghei Wang, vice dean of the School of Environment gave a speech as a representative of the faculty. Prof Wang was a frontline fighter against the COVID-19 virus. This February, he went to Wuhan and worked there, at the epicenter of the pandemic, as a core member of a research team focusing on the development of mobile medical waste disposal. He shared his insights gained from the invaluable experience with the audience. “The youth should shoulder the responsibility when the world is in need of them to help tackle difficulties and challenges. I believe in the near future, your power will play an important role and you will succeed against all odds”.
Another renowned speaker was Jinlong Yang, a graduate of NNU’s Class of 1985. He is the vice president of the University of Science and Technology of China and Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He generously shared his life as a student on the NNU campus and the following 35 years spent focusing on his scientific research. Expressing his great expectations for these students, he said, “Dear students, embrace a great dream and bravely move on. Pay back to society and NNU with your knowledge and actions. New Graduates, Forge ahead! I extend my best wishes to you all!”
In lieu of the turning of the tassel, this year there was a special ceremony as the celebration neared its conclusion. Every undergraduate saw their photograph flashed up on the screen, together with the achievement they are most proud of as well as the blessings they’ve written for themselves, their classmates and teachers, and their Alma Mater.