College presidents motivate graduates

Updated 2017-07-05 08:58:27 China Daily
Graduates of Peking University weep while watching videos reviewing their college days during a graduation ceremony in Beijing on Tuesday.

Graduates of Peking University weep while watching videos reviewing their college days during a graduation ceremony in Beijing on Tuesday.

Commencement speeches offer advice on overcoming life's obstacles

Every summer, as millions of university students graduate, the spotlight falls on commencement speeches delivered by college presidents.

Observers are often curious how the leaders of such institutions will seize the final opportunity to pass on their wisdom to the young minds they have helped nurture before they head into the world.

Peking University, one of China's best, held its graduation ceremony for the class of 2017 on Tuesday, with more than 3,000 students obtaining bachelor's degrees.

At the commencement, Lin Jianhua, the university's president, cited his own experience and told the graduates to accept the unchangeable, have the guts to change situations that can be altered, and have the wisdom to tell the difference between the two.

Lin had an opportunity to be recommended for a university when he was working at a farm in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region four decades ago during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76).

But for reasons unknown to him, he lost the opportunity and another person was recommended.

"It was hard to face the reality and it took a long time for me to get over it. But when I finally did, I got more than I expected," he recalled, adding that he took the national college entrance exam the following year and was admitted to Peking University-a better college than the university he missed out on.

"Life is full of surprises," Lin told the graduates. "Everyone will encounter unbearable situations. I hope that you can have the courage and wisdom to face and deal with them."

Qiu Yong, president of Tsinghua University, another prestigious university, stressed the importance of independent thinking in his commencement speech on Sunday.

"I hope that the biggest success you achieved during the past four years at college is that you have gradually formed your own thinking," he told 3,000 graduates.

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