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Why do People Go to University Nowadays?

published: 2017-09-05 15:04:30       hits: 

President Li Yanrong’s Speech at 2017 Opening Ceremony of UESTC

Good morning, everyone!

After a short silence of summer vacation, liveliness comes back again to our campus to welcome a new group of students. On behalf of UESTC, I’d like to extend our congratulations to xxx undergraduate and xxx graduate students for your excellent performance and successful admission into UESTC. Welcome to UESTC!


I went to the Admission Office this summer to check this year’s recruitment, and found that the vast majority of provincial enrollment marks of UESTC exceeded the first batch of national undergraduate admission score by over 100 points. In particular, UESTC has recruited very excellent students who major in clinical medicine and nursing for the first time, which shows parents’ and the society’s expectation on UESTC’s new discipline: medical science. Our new students are not only excellent performers in study, but also have a wide range of hobbies. I decided to recruit two students after comparison with others. One is Cao Zhe, who won the 2nd Prize of National Chinese Language Competence Competition. The other is Ma Zhihua, who is good at Chinese calligraphy.

UESTC has cultivated more than 170,000 outstanding graduates in the past 61 years since its foundation. They have made great contribution to the country and the society. The university has constantly summed up from the past to see which element exerts the greatest impact on our students. The first is undergraduate liberal education, especially liberal arts education, which is the key to strengthen students’ soft power. University dose not cultivate undergraduates and graduates into experts, only Ph. D students. Secondly, internationalization is important. Overseas exchange experience is beneficial for students to widen their vision. The third is comprehensive knowledge and technological integration ability of science students. Modern engineering technology stresses on integrity and integrated innovation, which is a big challenge to the traditional way of talent cultivation, that is, by subdivided disciplines. The last is leadership cultivation. How to train students’ critical thinking and expressing capabilities is very urgent, because they will be performing on the international stage in the future. Besides, their systematical study of fundamental knowledge by disciplines in college, the continuous improvement of further study rate, to stick to a physical exercise which is beneficial to your lifetime wellbeing, etc. are all significant in their college life.

Today, I want to talk about why people go to university. What makes a university? What’s the meaning of going to university? Some hold that it’s useful; some think many others go to university, and those who don’t suffer losses; some say going to university, especially great universities, both home and abroad, is the expectation of teachers and parents. It’s true university makes a person knowledgeable and it is a great place for young people to grow fast and be outstanding.

But, it is a large possibility for people to go to university today and its mystery is fading. University is not ivory tower anymore. It is not omnipotent and can not turn stone into gold by touching. Only when one unveils the surface information and time brand of university can one find its returning to essence. No matter how university has changed in the past, how it is changing at present and how it will be changing in the future, the eternal and irreplaceable essence will be found in the following two aspects:

Human beings are gregarious animals. They need to live together as they grow from juvenile to youth. Gregarious animals live by groups, and they collaborate with and take care of each other in daily life. As gregarious animals, human beings are susceptible by surrounding environment and people. You come from all parts of China and get together in UESTC, which means you are all excellent in study. However, everyone may carry some hidden good qualities. Being part of such group, you will know more about yourself and the strong sense of mission surges in your heart with the impulsion to polish yourself, achieving your best in a few years. The bigger the contrast of the students, the more you will be inspired, and to admire and learn more from each other. Being with different people, poor or rich, rural or urban, boys or girls, even different races enables you to be broad-minded, more tolerate and kind. University is a noble place full of positive energy. Greater university enjoys stronger energy. UESTC is such a great university, and its teachers and students are sharers and beneficiaries of positive energy. The best way to improve is to approach positive people and environment. It would be better if you are such kind of person.

The ambience of striving forth and the standard of “being satisfied with nothing but perfect” will no doubt unconsciously affect one and makes one form good habits of high standards and strict logic.Quietly, these habits and standards will flow into one’s veins, little by little, and upgrade to the standard of life, influencing one’s whole life. Therefore, a few words to sum up the students of UESTC: the more competent, the more endeavor; the more endeavor, the more successful; the more successful, the more striving!

Dear students, four years’ study in UESTC will turn you into well-educated and knowledgeable person, who can be profiled as “with culture and conscientiousness rooted in his heart, to gain freedom premised on restraint, with kindness and consideration for others”. China has transformed from thousands of years’ agricultural civilization into the commercial era. A new relationship which adapts to modern civilization between people, between people and society, between man and nature should be rebuilt. Therefore, university functions as an important cultivation base for qualified citizens and cultural men. What’s more, our students should strive to be the promoters of civilization progress, leaders of civilization transformation and models of civilization construction of our time.

Hence, university functions as a platform and attracts a galaxy of outstanding talents together. They progress with excellence in the era. They get positive energy from this platform, set up standards and way of thinking and the qualities worth pursuing for the whole life.

Another aspect I want to stress is that innovation gene is born with human beings. Compared with other animals, the best part of being human is the desire and wisdom for unceasing efforts and challenges. University is the collecting and distributing center for unusual but wonderful ideas, the dream factory and holy land for innovation. The academic freedom makes innovation spirit everywhere around the campus. New ideas, theories, methods, technologies, designs and inventions emerge one after another. University doesn’t produce technological products and chase the trend. Its main concern is how the society and technology develops in the next few decades. A president of Stanford University once mentioned that university is the engine for the fast changes of society, with its guideposts pointing forwards. Over 80% Nobel Laureates are from universities. Over 80% winners of National Technology Prizes in China are also from universities. Although university’s hardware conditions are generally not as good as specialized scientific research institutions, the academic freedom, interdisciplinary advantage, undaunted students full of curiosity and the exciting sparks when interacting with professional teachers make university always stand on the tide and lead the trend. It enables students to watch where a new wave starts and jump at it before it reaches the peak and be the top one. On the campus of a great university, the most beautiful scenes are like the following: students and teachers are having free discussion in classrooms and labs; a professor and his students are deriving formulas on the blackboard together; some members from student organizations are sitting on the lawn, chatting and discussing about programs…

That’s why no technological institutes can replace a university to explore and magnify human beings’ innovation spirit and conscientiousness.

Dear students, there is no perfect university, but the two aspects I talked above, i.e., to gather positive energy in university to set up one’s standard, thinking mode and qualities worth pursuing; to shape one’s innovation spirit and conscientiousness. The two points are the most essential and primary for a university. And in fact it’s the essence of “making innovation out of conventional development”. I expect our students, both undergraduates and graduates, to practice and try to do well, because it may influence you for the lifetime, and even several generations of your family.

Lastly, thank you again for coming to UESTC! Best wishes to you.