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Many freshmen gathered in the University Hall to attend the inauguration ceremonies on 10 September. Due to COVID-19 prevention measures, the ceremonies were also live-streamed in different locations on campus.

The ceremony began with the playing of the national and college anthems.

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Students and staff sang the national and college anthems

President of UIC Prof Tang Tao addressed the pandemic situation that has affected 2020 and how it is great to have students back on the campus. “Under the dark clouds of the virus, to see you here is a ray of sunshine and a victory” he continued “Finally, you are on this beautiful campus to begin a beautiful chapter in your life.” (Click here to read President Tang Tao's full speech)

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President of UIC Prof Tang Tao welcomes the students

Prof Tang showed his appreciation to the staff at UIC for making the campus safe and therefore able to have the semester begin. He then explained how from his experience how outstanding students are guided. He gave four key points which were about pursuing a passion, training to be critical and creative, teamwork and finally about making friends.

“Live your life with joy, energy and curiosity. Remember, true learning is not just instructions, but an experience” said Prof Tang before wishing the students to have the best time of their lives at UIC.

Next to give a speech was UIC Provost Prof Chen Zhi who congratulated the new batch of students and how the adversity has made them stronger and from this moment forward, they will begin a new chapter of their lives. “As a newly established Liberal Arts University, UIC expects you to fully utilize your four years of education here to better equip you for what’s ahead.”

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Provost Prof Chen Zhi congratulated the new batch of students

Prof Chen explained how when he went to university it was a lot more extravagant and a lot less accessible than it is nowadays. He explained how a shift of mindset from passive learning to an active sense of curiosity, from taking things for granted to taking initiative, and from being indifferent to having an inquisitive mind is and will be a must at this stage of their lives.

Party Secretary of the College Party Committee and UIC Vice President (Administration) Prof Mao Yaqing took to the stage and gave a speech. He welcomed the students before giving them three questions to consider.

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 Vice President (Administration) Prof Mao Yaqing raised three questions

The first question that Prof Mao wanted the students to think about is “Who am I?” in regards to the students having self-reflection now they are adults. “Where am I?” was the second question Prof Mao asked the students to think about in regards to them being at UIC. The third and final question Prof Mao asked the students to think about was “How can I realise my future achievements?” He explained how 2020 has been a different kind of year; however, the crisis would also allow people to learn how to sharpen their will to face uncertainty and make them more resilient to adversity.

Prof Huang Huaxiong, who is UIC's Vice President (Academic) and the Dean of Division of Science and Technology, sent a welcoming speech via pre-recorded video. Prof Huang in the video advised the students to take advantage of what UIC offers in regards to environment and resources.

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UIC Vice President (Academic) Prof Huang Huaxiong provided a pre-recorded message

Prof Huang then gave some advice to prepare students including telling them to learn how to measure their time and to think ahead. He followed up by explaining that there will be a time they will encounter stress and they will need to deal with it. Prof Huang ended by telling them to concentrate on balancing their life during the four years that they will spend at UIC. “It's also about learning to be engaging citizens. You should explore the world outside the classroom.”

Prof Jia Weijia, who is UIC Vice President (Research and Development), took to the stage to give a speech.

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Vice President (Research and Development) Prof Jia Weijia spoke about the importance of students preparing for research

Prof Jia spoke about the importance of students preparing for their Final Year Project (FYP). “I suggest starting from the third year to focus on research” was advice he was giving the freshmen in attendance. Explaining the importance of not leaving it too late and starting now to understand what interest them. He ended by wishing the students good health and a bright future.

Several students all came on to the stage and were awarded full entrance scholarship by President Tang. Liu Xun, a receipted of the scholarship returned to stage to give a speech to end the ceremony.

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President Tang awarding the students their scholarships

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Liu Xun introduced herself as a freshman of 2020. She explained how she was excited to be embarking on her journey in UIC before sharing some of her thoughts on how the freshman should approach this new experience.

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Liu Xun talking about how excited she is to be at UIC

Liu Xun talked about having greater independence, “In my opinion, college life will be very different from that of high school. Not only are our homes far away, but we are also leaving our comfort zones.” She then talked about developing a positive attitude towards life-long learning and used Warren Buffett as an example. The third thing Liu Xun spoke about is the need to have the courage to try new things and to be unafraid of failure. She ended by saying “Everything that is about to happen excites me, I just can’t wait to start my brand-new college life and to see everything we are going to achieve.”

After the opening ceremony, the freshmen participated in a meeting where they were introduced to their selected programmes and also got the opportunity to ask Deens and teachers questions.

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Students attending the meeting

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Dean of Business and Management (DBM) Prof Steve Liu 

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Dean of the Division of Culture and Creativity (DCC) Prof Holger Briel

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Associate Dean of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences (DHSS) Prof Simon Zhao

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Dean of the Division of Science and Technology (DST) Prof Huang Huaxiong


Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He