The Chinese University of Hong Kong Holds 87th Congregation for the Conferment of Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) held its 87thCongregation for the Conferment of Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees today (7 November). Professor Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, conferred first and master’s degrees at the Congregation.
Due to special circumstances in the campus, including disputes between people with different opinions, serious vandalism, and disruption to the Congregation ceremony, the University decided to cut short the ceremony and bring it to conclusion after conferring the degrees to all students. The graduating procedure of all students has been completed, while the unfinished teaching and research awards presentation ceremony will be rescheduled.
Professor Tuan expressed regret that the campus facilities and ceremony venue were maliciously defaced by some people last night and this morning, affecting the solemnity of the ceremony. Professor Tuan said that the degree conferment ceremony was a very important and celebratory occasion for all graduates and their family and friends. On behalf of the University, he apologized to those who were affected.
Professor Tuan said due to today’s special circumstances, he wished to speak candidly from his heart, instead of following his prepared speech. He encouraged new graduates to respect and understand each other in their community, and not to focus only on today’s achievements and failures. He quoted humanitarian philosopher and doctor, Albert Schweitzer, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful”.
CUHK Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rocky Tuan’s remarks to graduates during the 87th Congregation: https://www.cpr.cuhk.edu.hk/cutv/detail/1122
The script of the speech prepared by Professor Rocky Tuan:
CUHK 87th Congregation –
Conferment of Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees
Address by the Vice-Chancellor
Dear graduating students, colleagues and friends of CUHK, parents and guests,
On behalf of the CUHK community, I welcome all of you to the 87th Congregation for the Conferment of Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. Today is a milestone event in the lives of our graduating students. We are here to acknowledge and celebrate our students’ hard work and achievements, and we are also here to express our gratitude to teachers and parents who have helped our students grow into better persons, and contributed and even made sacrifices to send our students on the way to their next steps of personal advancement and fulfilment. My warm congratulations to all of you.
Dear students, after today, you will be guided by new aspirations and new goals, of which you will be the designer as well as executor. Remember, you are here today because you have attained an appreciable level of qualification, gained the requisite knowledge and skills, developed the courage and resilience in the face of challenges and, most importantly, have been instilled with virtues and values that include integrity, empathy, compassion and rigour. As you are about to embark on the next chapter of your personal intellectual and career journey, I urge you to give serious consideration as to how you are going to apply all that you have learned and experienced into meaningful endeavours for the good of your community, society and the world.
Let me get you started on your thinking process by taking this opportunity to recount some of the recent accomplishments of members of the CUHK community, that have been achieved through questioning the status quo, outside-the-box thinking, and will power. These examples illustrate how knowledge, skills and dreams can be translated into impactful products or services.
Earlier this year, an international team led by a CUHK scientist completed the world’s first reference-grade wild soybean genome, which provides an important tool for soybean genetic research. The discovery may help to improve the tolerance and other traits of soybeans, the third most important cash crop in the international trade market, thereby extending the habitats of soybean cultivation. Their findings mark a significant step forward towards food security and sustainable agriculture in the world. It is an outcome of over 20 years of hard work, all started with a single-minded aim and a scientific quest in search of a specific soybean gene, a task that was deemed extremely challenging. The success of this research project is a result of dedication, hard work, and perseverance of scientists from different generations towards their common dream.
At the same time, our Faculty of Medicine conducted the world’s first multi-specialty clinical trial using the ‘Single Port Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgical System’. Results from the trial demonstrated that the system enables the performance of multiple procedures through a single entry portal, allowing surgeons to reach difficult-to-access sites in the human body to carry out delicate procedures with precision. Minimally invasive surgeries have been carried out at our teaching hospital – Prince of Wales Hospital – since as far back as 1990 with an aim to reduce patients’ trauma and pain, facilitate quicker recovery and minimize morbidity. Our faculty members have succeeded because of their firm belief that advances in technology, driven by their boldness and creativity, will produce a versatile platform for novel surgical approaches. And now, their new goal is to apply the system in more specialties to benefit more patients around the world.
We have an undergraduate student in social science, who lost his eyesight when he was 15. Struck by such a drastic loss, he did not become dispirited or depressed. He was transferred to a special school where he learned Braille and to walk with the assistance of a cane. He eventually returned to a mainstream school for further studies and was admitted to CUHK last year. He seized every opportunity to take part in various activities, including performing in musicals to let people know about his personal experience. His story aroused the interest of the director of the documentary entitled “My Voice My Life” in which he was featured as one of the prominent commentators. He said: “I only lost my sight but not my life”. He hopes that his life story will ignite passion and hope in the lives of others and bring them to pass on more moving stories. He recently won the “The Most Creative Performance Award” by the Arts with the Disabled Association Hong Kong.
Another exciting and delightful piece of news that I would like to share with you is that, in the recently announced results of the “Ten Outstanding Young Persons Selection” (「十大傑出青年選舉」), among the eight honourees on the bill, four were from CUHK! One of the CUHK awardees is an alumna of music, who fights the uphill battle in establishing herself as a virtuosic bel canto singer in the European operatic scene. Initially, she was rejected because of her pronunciation skills or simply because she looked different. She persisted and her hard work finally paid off, as she has just become the first Hong Kong soprano at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma (Rome Opera House). Although she is fully aware of the tough road ahead, she has made it her goal to be a world-class opera singer by the age of 30. As the selection committee remarked, “the honourees share a love of life and an indefatigable spirit, which enable them to rise above trials and setbacks, fulfil their calling and bring light to society”.
The aspirations of our younger generation, be they big or small, together will determine what the future holds for Hong Kong. Dear students, the path to realization of your goals and aspirations is almost never a smooth and easy one. It is bumpy, narrow, and sometimes seems impassable. There are as many opportunities as there are challenges in life. But as long as you hold on to your dreams, in spite of hardships and failures, you will increase your chance of success. Your alma mater is always by your side, ready to be your partner of progress. Today as you graduate, I would like you to bear in mind three qualities that will help you carve out a niche in society:
- First, the will to excel when given the chance;
- Second, the steadfastness to hold on when failure looms;
- Third, the enthusiasm and kind heart to serve when success comes your way.
These qualities will carry you far, not only in your career but also in other aspects of your life.
Over the past five and a half decades since the birth of CUHK, some graduating classes have found themselves hatching out of CUHK in relatively easy times, while some in rather challenging times, socially or economically. Today we are not in the very best (if not the worst) of times. You are graduating at a time of unrest and uncertainty as the city faces one of its biggest challenges in history. Polarized views, mistrust and conflicts have arisen from deep-seated social problems. In fact, all we have to do is to look around, and we see similar situations in many other parts of the world. In the midst of these challenges, you must first actively deepen your understanding about the present and the future, namely a sense of the time continuum that is history, and your place in it. Secondly, you must remain faithful to our core values and passion. There is a famous quote of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that says: “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” In fact, Albert Schweitzer, the all-around humanitarian, philosopher and physician, once said: “Success is not the key to happiness; happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
As you graduate today, you have the opportunity to do your part, to help create a better future for people around you and your community, and to exercise your responsibility as a global citizen. Let’s not forget that we are living in a culturally diverse community where freedom of speech should be treasured and defended. We should respect other people’s rights to express themselves freely. Mutual respect and understanding is absolutely crucial for different values and ideas to co-exist and flourish in a community. Never forget that the human is by necessity a community organism. Here I would like to quote someone more contemporary. Dr. Geoffrey Ma, chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, an honorary graduate of CUHK, recently addressed an education forum, and said “If today’s students are to justify their roles to become tomorrow’s leaders, a sense of community rooted in the fundamentals of tolerance, respect and compromises are something they, and all of us, must possess.”
Dear students, as you prepare to open the next chapter of your life journey, you should keep challenging yourself with one question: “How am I going to make use of what I have gained in the university to make a difference?”. Walk the extra mile, with passion and compassion, in whatever you do, and along the way, sow seeds of random kindness. With most sincere and warmest wishes, I bid you farewell, but only for just now, as I hope to see you soon again as CUHK alumni.