(Shantou and Hong Kong, 29 June 2012) Shantou University (“STU”) marked a new milestone today, with the Ministry of Education, the Guangdong Provincial Government and the Li Ka Shing Foundation signing a tripartite agreement to co-develop STU. The agreement was reached to support STU’s continuing reform efforts and to expedite its development as an experimental model for reforms in higher education. The agreement outlines the strong financial and policy support from the Ministry of Education and the Guangdong Provincial Government. STU will be granted a unique status as a national model for education reforms. The Foundation will continue to support STU, leveraging its partnerships with leading universities around the world to assist STU to become an internationally renowned elite mainland university with unique characteristics.
At the signing ceremony, Mr Hao Ping, Vice Minister of Education, said that the agreement marks a new milestone in the future development of STU. “I hope that Shantou University can maximise the support given by the Ministry of Education and the Guangdong Provincial Government as well as the financial resources provided by the Li Ka Shing Foundation,” he said. “By learning from top international universities, Shantou University can start with a modern education system and a liberalised mindset to forge a new path that befits its unique characteristics.”
Mr Chen Yunxian, Vice Governor of Guangdong Province, said that the agreement demonstrates Guangdong’s commitment to develop a top-flight university and its resolve to implement higher education reforms. Mr Chen said, “I hope that Shantou University will make good use of this opportunity to further raise its academic standards and solidify its education reforms to create new pathways for the province to transform itself and make significant economic contributions to eastern Guangdong.”
Mr Li Ka-shing, Honorary Chairman of the STU Council, added, “It is very encouraging for everyone at Shantou University who is dedicated to tertiary education reforms to have the recognition and support of the Ministry of Education and the Guangdong Provincial Government. I have always considered the Foundation to be my Third Son. This Third Son will fortify my commitment to education and my promise to support Shantou University beyond my lifetime.”
Attending the STU Commencement Ceremony today, Mr Li delivered a speech titled “The Future Matters to Me”, sharing with the graduates of STU his secret formula for success. He said, “I believe that if there is a secret formula for success, the most important ingredient is this: your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. Mindset is like the sharpest blade that heightens your aspirations to all that is possible, keeping you alert and attentive against complacency and inertness; it inspires you to serve forever with fortitude and character, to dare to love, to dare to be honest, to dare to be different.”
A dedication ceremony was also held for a new campus building named Kuanzheng. The name is derived from a quote in Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian), which says “One who is just and magnanimous will have the confidence of his followers.” A souvenir bearing quote in Chinese was given to guests.
Appendix: Mr Li’s speech delivered at the commencement ceremony
I would like to welcome all of you here today to celebrate this momentous occasion for our new graduates. Last week, I met with our university officials and I was pleased to hear about the achievements of our reform efforts over the past decade, and their exciting plans for the coming five years. On behalf of the University Council, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to every member of our faculty and administrative staff for your dedication and commitment to advancing reforms in higher education. I have great confidence in the future of Shantou University.
I never understood why everyone refers to the past as, “The good old days.” Maybe as painful and bad as yesterday was, the reality of today seems even harsher, or perhaps deep in our memory there will always be enough bittersweet and yet poignant memories to channel new momentum for our life today.
I was born in Chiu Chow in 1928. If you think Shantou is backward today, you should try visualising how it was 84 years ago.
I can still remember when I was six. It was a hot summer night and my parents and I sat with my grandmother in our tiny courtyard. My uncle was describing how affluent the village squire was—his wealth was well over two hundred thousand silver coins, which is around three hundred million RMB at today’s value. Astounded by this immense wealth, my grandmother sighed softly and muttered, ‘I wonder which of our generation will have a comfortable life like this…” – A simple wish from an ordinary citizen.
My beloved grandmother is long gone, buried near her favourite scenic spot alongside the beautiful shores of Han Jiang, 78 years have gone by and I once sat beside her grave and whispered, “We did it!”
For a young person in dire poverty, apprehension is torturous and real. Did I not fear the crushing power of destiny? Without education, without resources, hope and a fierce sense of determination to battle against fate and its arsenal of uncertainties is all that I had left.
You all might have already heard of my struggles for survival. What you may not know at your age is how many times I refused to settle for a life where there is no room for vision. I believe that if there is a secret formula for success, the most important ingredient is this: your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. Mindset is like the sharpest blade that heightens your aspirations to all that is possible, keeping you alert and attentive against complacency and inertness; it inspires you to serve forever with fortitude and character, to dare to love, to dare to be honest, to dare to be different.
When you get to be my age, you don’t want to look back with regrets and lament that you were once cheerful, passionate and confident, but that you let your spirits wane and opted to live a life of unfulfilled dreams. Once, you were fearless and forthright. Once, you believed in truth and fairness. Once, you had a clear vision of the future. Stay the course! I do not want you to ever regret that somehow you lost your soul, your principles and your humble heart along the way.
My dear fellow students, destiny is not a matter of chance but a matter of choice. And your choice will seal your destiny. Let that destiny not be an accident, but a choice achieved!
Einstein had a funny way to remind himself how to choose, and he put the counsel up outside his office door at Princeton. It read: “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
If you want to know how I sought my destiny, I had already shared it with you all: building up myself in the pursuit of my selflessness. We must have faith in our courage and wisdom to shape our destiny, to realise our dreams, and to contribute to our beloved motherland and the world in which we coexist. Congratulations again to all of you. Today you are proud to be a part of Shantou University. Tomorrow Shantou University will be proud to be a part of you.
Thank you very much.