Commencement Ceremony for the Inaugural Class of Schwarzman Scholars
The commencement ceremony for the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars at Tsinghua University was held at the Schwarzman College on July 1st, 2017. Attending the commencement ceremony were Tian Xuejun, Vice Minister of Education of China, Yao Ming, Chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association, Qiu Yong, President of Tsinghua University,Yang Bin, Vice President of Tsinghua University, Yao Qiang, Dean of the Postgraduate School, and Stephen Schwarzman, Chairman of the Blackstone Group, who were joined by some 100 mentors and professors from government, business and academia. David Li, Dean of the Schwarzman College, presided over the ceremony. Executive Dean David Q. Pan, Associate Dean Jason Cheng, Associate Dean Melanie Koenderman, Head Professor Xudong Gao, and more than 200 student parents all attended this ceremony.
The commencement ceremony began with a video which summarised the learning and growth of the scholars in the past year. L. Rafael Reif, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), extended his congratulations to the inaugural class. Henry M. Paulson Jr., 74th Treasury Secretary of the United States, encouraged the scholars to keep a sense of pride and responsibility for reshaping a peaceful, better and more prosperous world and wished the scholars success in their future career and life and continued influence and impact on the world.
Vice Minister of Education Tian Xuejun conveyed the greetings and congratulations from Vice Premier Liu Yandong to the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars. In his address, Tian Xuejun said, "It is pleasing to see that after one year of study at Tsinghua, you have explored Chinese culture and Chinese society more deeply, and have a better understanding about different civilizations." He also expressed his hope that the students can make contributions to the development of the world.
In his address, President Qiu began by congratulating the first class of Schwarzman Scholars for completing their studies at Tsinghua. “Dear Schwarzman Scholars, we are delighted to salute your accomplishments, and we are proud of your achievements. Congratulations!” said President Qiu. The President also encouraged the students to make contributions to the development of the world. He concluded by remarking: “My dear Schwarzman Scholars, I hope you will always aim high and be free to sail the world! Don’t forget, you are bound to be global leaders who will bridge China and the world.” The President told the Schwarzman Scholars: “No matter where you are in the future, please keep in mind that Tsinghua will be your home forever.”
Stephen Schwarzman, Chairman of the Blackstone Group, congratulated the inaugural class, expressing his joy and satisfaction with the many pioneering outcomes created by the scholars. He said, “When we were designing the program, we set out to identify the ideal Schwarzman Scholar – members of your generation who would rise into leadership roles. And I think we have achieved that goal beyond anything that we had hoped.”
As the guest speaker, Yao Ming, Chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association, shared with the students his experience as a basketball player and encouraged the students to be the best that they themselves can be. “Despite of cultural differences, as long as we can find common goals for the things we care, be the best yourself you can be, keep working hard and be open-minded, everything will fall into place and our world will become wide and spacious” said Yao Ming.
Ricky Altieri, the student representative from the United States, expressed his thanks in his speech to all of the extraordinary people who have made this possible, and to Tsinghua. “To Tsinghua—thank you for making me, the scholars, and the Schwarzman community feel at home, even so far away from home.” “In this moment, I know I cannot thank you enough. But we will make it our lives’ work to express those thanks, by serving our communities and the world”, he said.
“Schwarzman Scholars at Tsinghua University” is a Master’s degree program designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders. In the fall of 2016, the first class of 110 Schwarzman Scholars was enrolled in the College, and is composed of students from 31 countries and 70 higher education institutions, including world-class universities like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, West Point, Oxford and Cambridge.