Kunshan, December 16, 2014 – Duke Kunshan University (DKU) held a closing ceremony for the first class of the Undergraduate Global Learning Semester (GLS) program Tuesday afternoon. Sixty-one students from more than 20 Chinese and international universities were awarded program certificates at the ceremony and will also receive course credit from Duke University.
The 14-week GLS program allows undergraduate students to choose from among nearly 20 undergraduate courses from Duke University, covering natural science, social sciences, humanities, global health and language.
The closing ceremony was hosted by Mary Brown Bullock, executive vice chancellor of DKU. In her speech, Bullock expressed her satisfaction with the outcome of the first semester of the program. “At DKU, students and faculty together have demonstrated a passion for learning, for teaching, and for extraordinary creativity. Before we opened, I expressed my hope that there would be a ‘buzz’ about DKU and that we would model a new kind of learning community. Little did I anticipate how quickly that would happen. ”
Chancellor Liu Jingnan asked students to always remember that they are the first ever alumni of Duke Kunshan University and to uphold the principle of “Serving fairness and justice, serving nations and societies” to become leaders of society and citizens of the world. “You should always have a mind as broad as the earth that embraces all kinds of things and makes them prosperous; you should have the aspirations of rivers that nurture all kinds of lives and never stop running forward. DKU expects you to become global citizens that carry on the roots of your own national cultures and spirits, to respect, understand, appreciate and tolerate different cultures, to have cross-cultural communication abilities, and to have the aspirations to devote yourselves to peace and development of the humanity all over the world and the spirits of making relentless efforts.”
“In the past few months, I have had the most enjoyable experience at Duke Kunshan University,” said Wentao Chen, a senior from Hunan University, in a speech during the ceremony. Chen presented a monetary donation to DKU from the students in the class, in keeping with the tradition of “class gifts” in American universities. DKU will designate a bench on its campus the “GLS Class of Fall 2014,” bench ,with a commemorative plaque recognizing the class’s gift.
Representing the DKU faculty, Professor William Johnson urged students to continue their path towards better understanding.” “Now, as we reach this point in the journey, when we say goodbye to one another and declare a job well done, you may think that I will want us to contemplate endings. But I do not. Instead, I want to remind you that we are —all of us— still on that path.”
At the end of the ceremony, Chancellor Liu and Executive Vice Chancellor Bullock awarded program certificates to each student. The ceremony marks a successful completion of the first Fall semester of the GLS program. The spring 2015 semester will start on February 25, 2015, when a new group of undergraduate students from all over the world will convene at DKU.
DKU has signed cooperation agreements with 17 leading Chinese universities including Wuhan University, Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University and Zhejiang University. DKU admits up to five students from the candidates recommended by the partner universities and offers significant scholarship support. Additionally, the university has waived housing fees for all Chinese undergraduate students during the first two years of the GLS program. The international students in the program come from several prestigious universities including Duke University. The combination of diverse student body, world-class faculty, interdisciplinary curriculum and state-of-the-art campus facilities makes the GLS program a unique innovative short-term study program in China and beyond.