Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) today hosted the first session of its sixth graduation ceremony in the University’s multi-function hall.

This year 1,946 undergraduate, 32 postgraduate and five doctoral students will graduate from XJTLU and more than 27 percent of all undergraduate students attained First Class Honours.

According to the latest figures, 71 percent of XJTLU undergraduates plan to continue their education with postgraduate study in famous universities all over the world. More than 800 students have been accepted onto postgraduate courses at top 100 worldwide universities (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015) including University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College, University of California (Berkeley), University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, Columbia University, Northwestern University, University of Southern California, Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands), National University of Singapore and University of Hong Kong.

Seventy undergraduates have accepted positions after graduation. 25.7 percent of them have signed contracts with Fortune 500 companies and 21.4 percent of them will be employed by China’s own ‘Fortune 500.’ KMPG, China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China have continuously employed XJTLU graduates over the past five years.

In his speech to the graduates, Professor Youmin Xi, Executive President of XJTLU remarked, “In an era of ‘knowing all,’ mastering your research-led learning will help you raise the depth of your knowledge and acquire unique skills to stand firm in the face of fierce competition.”

Speaking of his excitement to see students’ growth, Professor Xi said, “Looking back on the past few years, witnessing your rapid development, my feelings overwhelm me.

“Please remember, no matter how splendid and grand the outside is, at moments when you fight one goal after another, just take a look over your shoulder occasionally. XJTLU will always be standing quietly behind you, giving you encouragement every time when you fall down and cheering for you every time you succeed,” Professor Xi continued. “As your alma mater, XJTLU and what you have learned here will continue to guide you as you explore the world.”

Professor Xi concluded, “With the depth and attainments that XJTLU can offer, we can achieve greatness!”

Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool and member of XJTLU’s board of directors was then invited to the podium to address the audience. “Today is a day of great celebration of considerable academic and personal achievement,” she said. “This is the sixth year that we have held graduation ceremonies at our Universities in Liverpool and Suzhou and it is truly heart-warming to see the continued success of Xian Jiaotong-Liverpool University. The reputation of the University and its students stands high all over the world.”

Professor Beer highly praised XJTLU students, adding, “XJTLU students are tremendous ambassadors for China and have made a wonderful contribution to life at the University of Liverpool, as well as achieving very high academic success. Your excellent attainment as XJTLU students has contributed significantly to the popularity and rapidly-growing reputation of the University.”

After the speeches, each graduate was called onto the stage one by one to receive their degrees and, following a Liverpool tradition, “have their tassel straightened” by Professor Xi. Professor Beer and Professor Wenquan Tao, President of XJTLU then congratulated each new graduate with a handshake.

Before the ceremony came to a close, Ms. Hongying Li, a student representative from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering presented on behalf of the department, classmates and peers. She spoke proudly about her study at XJTLU saying, “I found the acquisition of knowledge intoxicating, whether it be math, physics, English or computing. Learning the logic of each subject but more importantly developing an understanding of how they work together is a beautiful thing. Ralph Waldo Emerson said ‘Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret’. XJTLU has inspired this curiosity in me. Once I recognised such interest, I had discovered my motivation to study and a passion for a subject I was previously uncertain about.

“University unveils a new perspective. We are given freedom to control our lives. But with this freedom comes responsibility for our own studies, self-study. We are not left alone to learn this skill. My tutors were patient to answer questions and encouraged attention to the process of learning instead of final results,” she continued. “They stimulated us to think and learn by ourselves, to solve problems and to become individuals who are not only now ready to become a part of society, but ready to change the world.”

Ms. Li concluded her speech stating, “You will be able soar with the wings of an eagle, wings that you have been provided in your last four years. Today, our XJTLU experience ends--four years gone in a flash it seems. However, the experience, the lessons, the skills and knowledge will stay with us forever.”

Professor Tao concluded the afternoon’s celebration, with a closing address for the audience of graduates, parents, friends and colleagues. “The University recognises how much all of you have grown both academically and individually in the past four years. I hope you can continue to maintain justice, integrity, courtesy, modesty, and a magnanimous mind. Please continue to be responsible in the future by keeping the motherland in mind and being mindful of the common people.”Professor Tao concluded by wishing the students “every happiness and success in the future.”

Speaking of his most memorable experience at XJTLU, Mr Divan Oosthuizen, an English and Communication Studies student from South Africa said, “Due to the great difference in our cultural backgrounds, discussions inside and outside of the classroom resulted in many interesting, funny and at times heated debates. But, it ultimately enhanced our group relationship and provided us with so many laughs! Those moments led to classmates becoming actual friends and academia being enjoyed. Those moments are what I will never forget.”

The subject matter of Mr Oosthuizen’s final year project involved the former South African President and philanthropist, Nelson Mandela. “Undeniably faced with many challenges during his lifetime, he (Nelson Mandela) frequently cited the poem ‘Invictus’ by the English poet William E. Henley as a personal source of inspiration used to obtain the strength to stand up when all he felt like doing was lie down,” Mr Oosthuizen said.

“This is my message and hope for my fellow graduates, that whenever any challenge presents itself, be continuously reminded that you are the master of your fate - you are the captain of your soul”, he concluded.

A parent of one of the graduates, Mr Dong travelled from Harbin, Heilong Jiang Province. He expressed his excitement of attending his daughter’s graduation. “I can feel her growth and development in four years’ study at XJTLU,” he said. He highly praised XJTLU’s unique educational model, remarking, “my daughter need to finish every step all by herself since she started at XJTLU and we feel very proud of this. XJTLU’s educational philosophy has influenced greatly on training students’ view of life and world view.

“I hope that the University will continue to develop in the future and I also hope everything goes well with my daughter in her future life. We will invite our relatives and friends to celebrate my daughter’s graduation after the ceremony,” added Mr Dong.

The remaining four ceremonies of this year’s graduation will be held over the next two days.

This year’s graduating students join an ever increasing network of XJTLU alumni which includes over 5,800 people working in more than 11 countries.

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