On the morning of September 11, 2016, the opening ceremony of ZJU-UIUC Institute (ZJUI) was held at the second-floor common hall of Teaching Building A on the International Campus, Zhejiang University. UIUC dispatched a 15-member delegation, which consisted of Provost Edward Feser, Vice Provost Reitumetse Obakeng Mabokela, Dean of College of Engineering Andreas Cangellaris and responsible persons of the relevant disciplines, to the ceremony. Executive Vice President of ZJU and Dean of the International Campus Song Yonghua, Vice President of ZJU and Executive Associate Dean of the International Campus Ying Yibing, Assistant President of ZJU and Associate Dean of the International Campus Fu Qiang were present at the ceremony. Meanwhile, the discipline liaison persons from the relevant schools and colleges of ZJU, and the alumni of ZJU and UIUC also attended the ceremony. Guests from all quarters gathered at the ceremony to welcome freshmen 2016 and their parents to ZJUI for a new life.
Prof. Song Yonghua delivered an opening speech at the ceremony. Prof. Song emphasized that the joint institute represents an exploration that ZJU must make in its endeavor to build a world-class university, and that the Residential College model would transform the traditional Chinese way of education, practice teaching by personal example and shorten the student-faculty distance to the maximum extent, and create an environment conducive to students’ growth. Meanwhile, Prof. Song stated that, with the joint efforts, we had the determination and confidence to well develop the International Campus, Zhejiang University, into not only a paragon of Chinese higher education, but a role model of international higher education.
Then, Provost Edward Feser warmly welcomed the first group of freshmen into the joint degree program as part of the new international campus. He stated that this was a very exciting partnership, and expected ZJUI to explore new educational models to produce outstanding talents for China and even the world.
Prof. Li Erping, Dean of ZJUI first thanked the students and parents for selecting ZJUI. He recognized that the choice made by the students and parents was a wise one, and expressed the commitment to make the joint institute and the cooperation project a success. Meanwhile, Prof. Li also briefed the audience on ZJUI’s future educational model and main research areas. Prof. Philip Krein, Executive Dean of ZJUI, on the other hand, highlighted the importance of innovation for engineering students, and explained ZJUI’s educational objectives, i.e. to produce engineering talents and future leaders. He hoped that the students could be prepared with the necessary academic knowledge and skills through the following four years’ learning to bravely address the challenges jointly faced by the global society.
Besides, Dr. Shi Fang, a UIUC alumnus and CEO of Fujia Electronics Co., Ltd., movingly described his personal experience, talked frankly and eagerly about his views on innovation and the partnership between the two universities, and gave his best wishes to the new students. Prof. Qu Shaoxing from School of Aeronautics and Astronautics and also a UIUC alumnus, based on his study life at UIUC and teaching experience at ZJU, answered some questions about university study life commonly faced by the new students, and put forward a few requirements for the students. He emphasized the benevolence for others, and hoped that the students would love engineering, parents and the world, create and change the world with benevolence and engineering, to make the world a better place.
The opening ceremony reached the climax in the students’ hopeful and forward-looking melody of Beautiful Day. After the singing, the students wore ZJU-UIUC Institute Parent badge for their parents, expressing gratitude to the parents for their loving care. Then, the students, parents and guests each wrote a letter to themselves in four years. Some wrote without much thinking, while other with much deliberation, to record this moment and look to the future. ZJUI’s two deans worked together to seal up all the letters in ZJUI’s time capsule, and, together with other participants, buried the time capsule under the ZJU-UIUC Tree on the International Campus. In spite of the rain, the students, parents and guests were all in high spirits, hoping that their respective wishes could come true. It was expected that, when the time capsule is opened in four years, the first graduates will all have bright prospects and ZJUI will grow strong.
The opening ceremony concluded as the time capsule was buried. ZJUIers will begin their new life at the International Campus, Zhejiang University, open the gate to the engineering world, and take their first step to solve global problems.