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NYU Shanghai inaugural class students graduate

THE inaugural class at New York University Shanghai earned their NYU bachelor’s degrees as well as their NYU Shanghai diplomas today on their graduation ceremony.

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 China's 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.”

NYU President Andrew Hamilton said: “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."

Roxanne Roman, one graduate representative, delivered a speech at the ceremony, saying "we are making history today, as how we were every day in the past four years at NYU Shanghai."

She said "goodbye and thank you" tearfully to her classmates, her teachers, the university and the city.

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 “ 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.”

The 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.

Following the conferral of degrees by the Chancellors and the passing of the NYU Shanghai Torch from the graduating class to the rising senior class, the NYU Shanghai Chorale closed the ceremony with 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.

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. It welcomed its first class of students in August 2013.


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