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Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the 11th Graduation Ceremony and Honorary Fellowship Conferment. This event has a special meaning for me as it is my first graduation ceremony since taking office as UIC’s second president.

This is a day of great joy for our graduates, their parents, teachers and for UIC too. They have worked hard and learned well. They have proven to the world that UIC is an excellent brand, producing the finest graduates. They are valued by employers and welcomed by the world’s leading universities. They have shown that UIC’s innovative approach is exactly what China needs for the new century.

Our students are global citizens. In total, 68% of UIC’s 2018 graduates opted to study abroad and in Hong Kong, and 60% of them were admitted to top 100 universities in the world. UIC has the highest percentage of students going overseas among universities in this province. I know many of you will soon be leaving for these elite universities, while some will be taking up professional jobs or even starting up your own business.

To whom do they owe their success? Their teachers of course. Teachers have been called “engineers of the human soul”, and our teachers are certainly some of the best human engineers.

Now, let me give our guests a simple progress report on the College. In 2009, we had the first class of 242 graduates. This year alone, we have 1300 graduates. We went from accepting Band-3 students to taking in Band-1 students from across the country. And we did this mainly with student tuition fees. I have been president for only 142 days, so I cannot take any credit for this remarkable achievement. That credit belongs to our Council Chairman Professor Xu Jialu, and UIC’s founding President Professor Ng Ching-Fai. They, along with our teachers, are the real heroes.

Let us give them a loud round of applause.

A university is judged by the quality of graduates it produces.

Unlike MacDonald’s, we turn out products that are as different and individual as our students. But they share certain common qualities: they are critical, curious and creative, with a global outlook, and a broad base in knowledge. Above all, they pursue what they are passionate about.

These are the qualities exemplified by the five outstanding individuals we honour today, for their impact on society and humanity. In alphabetical order, this year’s recipients are:

Professor Hans van Ess. A noted German sinologist who is outstanding in studying and explaining both ancient and modern China, including its history and culture for the benefit of the world. He is a bridge between East and West.

Dr Van Lau, a gifted Hong Kong-based sculptor one of whose works stands proudly at UIC’s grand entrance. He is able to fuse elements of Chinese and Western culture in his own unique way, using technology and new materials for traditional subject matters.

Mr Lin Ming. By building the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge and tunnel, he has proven foreign experts wrong that such a project was beyond China’s capability. He has changed the geographical relationship of three cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Professor Max Lu. He is the first Chinese person ever to become the president of a top British university. He is also a leading expert and authority in the field of material chemistry, having made outstanding contributions to the nanotechnology and clean energy.

Dr Kennedy Wong is a Hong Kong pioneering and prominent lawyer whose firm was the first to be granted approval to set up law offices in Mainland China. He and his family have given generously to the support of education in Hong Kong and the Mainland.

Each in his own way, these extraordinary individuals have given their best to make our world better. These are the people we celebrate as role models for our students. We are proud to welcome them into our academic hall of fame.

Once again, I offer our graduates my heartiest congratulations. UIC graduates, this day belongs to you. Enjoy it with your parents, peers and teachers. Now go out, conquer the world and make UIC proud.

Thank you and goodbye.