Inspirational staff and students honoured with awards

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An award ceremony celebrating the people who are inspirational in the eyes of students was held at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University.

The sixth “Inspiring XJTLU” ceremony, organised by the XJTLU Student Media Centre, was held to recognise the ordinary people who are inspiring XJTLU with their extraordinary contributions to the University’s development.

The annual event, which was supported by University Marketing and Communication, honoured six winners, chosen from eight nominees, who were selected through a series of off and online votes.

The night’s first winner was Professor David O’Conner (pictured above), dean of research and graduate studies at XJTLU, who was honoured for giving up an established life and career in the UK to take a chance on coming to XJTLU. He told award organisers that he cherished being involved in the process of creating a new university and that he would like to continue contributing to XJTLU’s development in the future.

The next winner was Yanfei Zheng, an XJTLU alumna who was the first XJTLU student to gain admission to the University of Oxford. She was chosen for being an inspirational example to other students. Because Yanfei currently works in the UK, her parents (pictured below) received the award on her behalf.

Her father said: “I am proud of my daughter, but I am more proud that XJTLU has produced so many outstanding students. I hope XJTLU can be one of the world’s famous universities.”


The University’s external mentor programme was recognised at the ceremony as an important part of XJTLU’s unique educational model. The programme, which pairs senior managers and professionals with students to give them career guidance, was honoured for its contribution to building bridges between students and the local community, for helping students put into practice what they’ve learnt at university and for laying the cornerstone of success for students.

Bozhong Tian, director general manager of Suzhou Runtian Enterprise Management Co., Ltd., has been an external mentor with XJTLU for six years. He received the award on behalf of the external mentor team and paid tribute to XJTLU’s educational philosophy of developing students with an international perspective.

The other winners on the night were:

Menghan Zhang, president of the SMC, expressed her gratitude to all those who had contributed to the ceremony, saying: “I hope everybody can actively find the inspiring stories and people around us and make them models for XJTLU.”

XJTLU Vice-President Dr Minzhu Yang, who gave the event’s opening address, extended his appreciation to the staff and students who have contributed to XJTLU’s development over the past decade. He said: “I wish XJTLU a bright future and let’s witness its metamorphosis over the next 10 years."

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