Peking University, September 9, 2023: On the morning of Sep 8, 2023, under a light drizzle, Peking University welcomed over 11,000 new students to gather at the Wu-si Sports Center, marking the beginning of their educational journey at PKU.
The opening ceremony was attended by Han Qide, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the 10th and 11th National People's Congress and vice chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, You Jun, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee, Cao Wei, deputy head of Changping District, PKU Council Chair Hao Ping, President Gong Qihuang, Academician Zhang Yuanhang, Professor Pan Jianfeng, Professor Wang Yun, University leaders and faculty members, and all 2023 freshmen. PKU Vice President and Provost Wang Bo presided over the ceremony.
The ceremony was preceded by a variety of warm-up shows, with performers including students from the PKU Affiliated Kindergarten, and the Student Orchestra. Despite the rain, the freshmen cheered enthusiastically throughout the event.
President Gong Qihuang delivers a speech at the ceremony
Following the warm-up performances, Wang Bo, representing the School leadership, officially welcomed the new students after a video presentation highlighting the memorable moments of the college enrollment and freshmen orientation. The audience joined in a heartfelt rendition of the national anthem as the flag was raised and fluttered proudly in the wind and light rain, bofore student and teacher representatives took the stage to deliver their speeches, sharing their rich experiences and valuable advice.
Chen Haowei, a freshman from the School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science, hailing from Yunnan province as a Wa ethnic, expressed his enthusiasm for information science and profound reverence for Academician Wang Xuan’s spirit of serving his country. With the support of his family and the Wa ethnic community, Chen declared his determination to forge ahead and strive for success, following the exemplary path of his elders.
Du Yiran from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature spoke on behalf of graduate students. Beginning her speech with a reference to White Dew, the 15th solar term on the Chinese lunar calendar, which fell on Sep 8 this year, Du elaborated on her love and aspiration for her major, classical philology.
Professor Yang Lihua from the Department of Philosophy delivered a speech as the teacher representative, extending his best wishes to the new students. Under the time of information fragmentation, he encouraged students to delve into classic works and actively participate in social practice all across the country. A comprehensive understanding and grasp of their major should also be cultivated to nurture their individual personalities and assist them in finding suitable lifelong career paths, he added.
As the ceremony drew to a close, President Gong Qihuang took the stage to deliver a profound and insightful speech, articulating his sincere hopes and expectations for the new students. He emphasized the importance of learning, elaborating on three key aspects.
Firstly, he stressed, learning for the sake of contributing to the country. Students must stay attuned to the demands of the era and the people and stand firm in support of their ideals and principles. By dedicating themselves to the community and the nation, they can actively work towards realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.
Secondly, learning with innovation. A solid foundation must be established during undergraduate studies while focusing on forefront technological innovation during postgraduate studies. In the face of scientific and technological bottlenecks, students must nurture creativity and develop novel methods to address challenges. “Peking University will always be the pioneer of innovation and improvement, leading China into the road of progress and prosperity.”
Thirdly, learning to be human and cultivating our morality. In addition to life and study, students should be actively involved in public issues. Confidence and perseverance should be fostered through exercises and sports, while team spirit and solidarity must not be overlooked. The students should integrate themselves into the collective, sharing a common strength and purpose.
"You come to PKU in your youth today, fulfilling your childhood dream. And I hope you can become the driving force behind building China into a moderately prosperous society in all respects in the future, realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation," President Gong added.
Students present flowers to teacher representatives at the ceremony
Following the ceremony, some freshmen expounded on their anticipation and expectations for college life. "I feel incredibly proud of being a part of PKU, and I’m thrilled to embark on a new chapter of my life here. I feel confident and energized about my future life, and I can’t wait for my new term," said a student at the opening ceremony.
"Coming to PKU is not only a fulfillment of my childhood dream but also a new starting point in my life. I feel honored and full of curiosity," another shared, "I deeply believe that inheriting the patriotic spirit of Peking University resonates with the heart of every single person at PKU and cannot be overlooked."
Shabbir Jawad contributed to the reporting.
Written by: Chen Chuyun
Edited by: Niki Qiu
Source: PKU News (Chinese)