Shantou University Student and Faculty Meeting

10 November 1999

Aspiration, Knowledge, Perseverance, Achievement

Shantou University was established in 1981. The campus was completed in 1990. In 1993 we awarded our first master’s degrees. In 1997 we were short-listed for Project 211. In 1998 we were granted permission to conduct doctoral programmes. The accomplishments we have achieved in these 18 years can be attributed to the strong support of the government and the concerted efforts of all faculty, staff, and students. I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their hard work.

The students sitting before us today are living in the most prosperous era in recent Chinese history. Most of us grew up among the ravages of war and poverty. China has been putting its resources into developing education for many years, injecting up to $30 billion a year into the university system, and a further $8 billion for research and development. In addition, the Ministry of Education has boosted the standard of higher education and broadened the students’ scope of learning, with initiatives such as the Cheung Kong Scholars Program, which invites world-renowned scientists to teach in China.

With a better environment, fuller lives, and ever more opportunities, a bright future is assured. But what is most important is whether you can take fate into your own hands by devoting yourselves tirelessly to your work and developing the right values in life. You must continually innovate and accept new challenges, insist on living a meaningful life, serve the community, and care for the poor and underprivileged. You must also have courage, tolerance and public spirit.

I have devoted a great deal of time and energy to Shantou University since its inception. I have always been happy to support education and medical care despite the many obstacles I have faced. But developing Shantou University has also been a personal wish. Even though I am not building my own university, I have always hoped that Shantou could develop a pool of human capital for the rest of the nation and to become a training center for the 10 million populace in the Shantou-Chaozhou area. I am constantly thinking about how to overcome the difficulties that Shantou University faces, and how to further develop its scope. During this visit, my colleagues and I have been discussing how to set up a $30 million technology fund. We are also considering the possibility of inviting professors to conduct online interactive programs through the Internet. But to develop Shantou University requires much more than my personal efforts and the continuous injection of capital. We must all work together to achieve new breakthroughs and to build a good organization, utilize our capital and human resources wisely, and help and encourage each other. Our combined efforts will help us reach our common goal of becoming a major university in China.

The advancement of information technology is changing the way we live. This affects not only our work and leisure, but also in areas such as medicine, education, and even society. There are many channels through which we can expand our scope of learning and increase our understanding of the world. However, having access to information alone does not guarantee success. To get ahead, we must use our heads and make intelligent decisions based on available information.

Our Group recently completed a major transaction, which was widely reported in the media. What pleases me most about this deal is not the profit we derived, but that the 10 years of hard work that my colleagues and I put into this project was finally rewarded and recognized. It is a great honour. I always say to my colleagues and my family that if you constantly take pride in your skills, your accomplishments, or your talents, then even if you are satisfied, others will find it hard to bear. True success comes only when it is achieved with humility.

Zeng Guofan once said, “Scholars must first have aspirations, then knowledge, then perseverance. If you have aspirations, you will not be content with mediocrity; if you have knowledge, then you will continue to learn and will not be easily satisfied; if you have perseverance, you will not fail in your endeavours.” The key to success depends on whether we can fully integrate our aspirations and our knowledge into the way we live, mix them into our rich cultural traditions, and then transform them into wisdom and strength to create a brighter future and greater prosperity for our people and our society. Thank you.