Dear teachers and students,
Esteemed colleagues who have left or retired,
Alumni at home and abroad,
Parents of our students.
The leaves may fall, but the trees will burgeon again; the flowers may wither, but they will bloom again. As we gather here today at the foot of the Great Wall and the shores of Yanqi Lake to welcome 2019, I would like to extend my sincerest New Year greetings to you all!
The year 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening Up. At this critical historic stage, we also celebrated the 40th anniversary of UCAS. These two anniversaries are interconnected. From living in simple prefabricated houses to building skyscrapers, we have remained committed to our aspirations. To foster talents in science and technology, we have put moral education first. This has been a long journey. But we have not been alone. In 2018, 16,294 undergraduate and postgraduate students joined us on our journey. At the same time, 10,743 students graduated from this university and are now beginning journeys of their own. Furthermore, our first cohort of 290 undergraduate students completed their Bachelor’s degrees. Of those, 247 are pursuing further study. That’s 85 percent of the total. In 2018, we held work conferences on ideology and politics, paying attention to the concerns of our students and paying homage to their beacons. In 2018, we convened the first Communist Youth League Congress since this university changed its name from GUCAS to UCAS. This Congress provided a platform for enriching our young people’s lives. In 2018, construction projects at the Yanqi Lake Campus, totaling 340,000 square meters, passed inspection and were approved. These projects symbolize fundamental changes in our educational facilities that reflect 15 years of hard work.In addition, we received a gift from the universe—the UCAS Star--- a gift that will bring together the wishes of our alumni all over the world.
Looking back on 2018, I see clearly how we cultivated creative talents. This year, in response to our national needs, we upgraded the structure of academic disciplines and conducted international exchanges. We established the College of Advanced Agricultural Science, the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing College, the School of Energies, Chongqing College, Fujian College, the Belt and Road College, the Research Center of Interdisciplinary Engineering, and the T.D.LEE Science and Art Center. We signed agreements for cooperation with foreign universities. In 2018, we formed a new term of the Teaching Committee, launched a series of top-notch courses and published a series of high-quality textbooks. We set up an award for teachers who dedicate themselves to their work like the late Prof. Li Pei, and an award for model teachers with great virtues. In 2018, the tradition of excellent scientists teaching in class was carried forward--16 academicians taught lessons to our undergraduates, and 58 academicians, to our postgraduates. Instructors with a professorship constituted 69 percent of the teaching force. Though Academician Liu Dongsheng, “the Father of Loess,” and Prof. Li Pei, “the Mother of China’s applied linguistics,” have passed away, their statues stand on our campuses and bear witness to the depth of their educational spirit.
Looking back on 2018, as we strived to extend knowledge and seek improvement in every respect, we remained dedicated to the service of our nation. When asked: “In the face of national difficulties and challenges, who can come up with the answers?” We answered: “I belong to the generation to help build a stronger country!”In the course of achieving the two centennial goals, we have full confidence. In 2018, the educational model of the fusion of research and teaching again proved fruitful as we ranked within the global 100 universities in terms of ESI. With an increasing number of innovative achievements, we contributed greatly to the innovation-driven development strategy. In 2018, Academician Zhang Miman was awarded the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards. In spite of being 82 years old, she still devotes herself to paleobiology and to the study of ancient vertebrates. In 2018, our postgraduates participated in the second national scientific expedition to the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Spurred by their scientific belief, they trekked 8,000 kilometers around the Kailas Range. In 2018, the alumni wall of 108 academicians was erected in the teaching building in the Yuquanlu Campus, and a graffiti wall was made in the road tunnel in the Yanqihu Campus, giving us fascinating insights into the flame of wisdom and passion as well as the power of youth and innovation.
The year of 2018 was a milestone in the history of UCAS and the concerted efforts of our teachers and students made it possible. These accomplishments should be credited to our dedicated teachers. They sought to perfect their teaching through trial and error, while at the same time collecting experimental data late into the night These accomplishments should be credited to our hard-working students. They devoted themselves to laboratory experiments, even no matter the coast. Furthermore, these accomplishments are inseparable from the hard work of our faculty and staff members. They came together in the spirit of sacrifice for the benefit of all. At the meeting to celebrate the 40th anniversary of UCAS, elderly alumni told us that every student who graduated from UCAS is a conductor—the more heat it receives, the more it radiates. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all faculty and staff members: they conduct heat to our students in their growth and success. Thank you for your contribution to the progress of UCAS with your wisdom, strength and energy.
Our memories are blessed with warmth and the future is full of hope. The best way to commemorate history is to create new history. The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of both the People’s Republic of China and the CAS. “Era is the mother of ideology and practice is the source of theory.” In the process of realizing the two centennial goals, we are the dream pursuers, builders and achievers. Let us incorporate our personal dreams, our youthful dreams and our tireless pursuit of world-class education into this great era. I am convinced that we can make the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation a reality with hard work from one generation to the next.
“The vegetation will flourish when spring comes, then the mountains can be even more splendid.” Now, the spring of 2019 is arriving. Let us remain committed to the fusion of research and teaching, maintain our strength to boldly spearhead innovation, and preserve our fortitude to seek new progress. I hope each one of us can behave as a struggling UCASer and an indomitable warrior. May we communicate with humility and tolerance, work with practice and truth, and live with calm and peace. I hope, that by rigorously integrating our research and teaching, we can realize the value of our lives and our beautiful dreams. I believe we can make greater and newer contributions to the implementation of our innovation-driven development strategy.
Happy New Year!
By LI Shushen
Translated by HUANG Junjie
Photo by Yang Tianpeng