Be the curious lifelong learners this world needs, Class of 2020 told | Duke Kunshan University

Be the curious lifelong learners this world needs, Class of 2020 told

May 14, 2020


Faculty, staff, family and friends joined an online celebration for the Class of 2020 on May 8

With Covid-19 serving as a “profoundly humbling reminder” of the gaps in global knowledge, we all must strive to be lifelong learners ready to adapt to constantly changing conditions, commencement speaker Feng Ge told Duke Kunshan’s Class of 2020.

Ge, the founding CEO of Jiahui Health, which operates hospitals and wellness centers across Shanghai, urged the graduating class to provide the world with the “curious and respectful minds and hearts” it deserves.

“It is most important to stay open-minded, curious and grateful. To learn is not only a capacity but also a privilege. Use it wisely and proactively,” said Ge, a Duke alumnus who is also managing partner at Trustbridge Partners, a global investment firm.

Thirty-two students across three master’s programs – medical physics, global health and environmental policy – celebrated the end of two years of rigorous study on May 8. With Covid-19 continuing to affect many countries and international travel, Duke Kunshan held an online commencement ceremony using Zoom to replace its in-person graduation activities.

Around sixty students in the master of management studies program also attended an online celebration to mark the end of the academic year on May 11.


Feng Ge, CEO of Jiahui Health, delivers his commencement address via video link

For those graduates planning to enter health care fields, Ge said many exciting and challenging work lies ahead. “Health care across the world needs change, innovation and transformation. Change is hard because it requires energy. … It takes an open and learning mind,” he said. “There is a great journey ahead all of you, and I hope you are lifelong learners so you can truly enjoy what is ahead.”

Chancellor Youmei Feng, who presented the opening remarks from a staging area on campus, saluted the families and friends who have supported the graduating students, especially in recent times. “We understand the sacrifices you have made. Please know that we appreciate the role you have played in helping these graduates on their journey,” she said.

Denis Simon, outgoing executive vice chancellor, added that he hoped graduates will continue to show commitment and devotion to making the world a better place. “The world needs the expertise that you bring to help solve the most perplexing problems,” he said.

Class speaker Siqi Liang, a graduate in the international master of environmental policy (iMEP) program, shared how proud she was of her classmates for their accomplishments at Duke Kunshan, as well as how thankful she was for such “talented and devoted” professors.


Siqi Liang was class speaker for the 2020 commencement ceremony

“None of us may realize just how many faculty members, staff members and other workers at DKU have contributed to our education and growth,” said Liang, whose research has included tracing biodiversity changes in a giant panda habitat.

“I know that some of us will continue on the roads we picked two years ago, while some will switch to other roads at certain points,” she said. “You have the qualities and vision to deal with any challenge, and you will lead a good life.”

Students presented this year’s Excellence in Teaching Awards to James Bowsher (medical physics), Abu Abdullah (global health) and Kathinka Fürst (iMEP), while the Outstanding Student awards went to Zhenyu Yang (medical physics) and Hongsheng Lu (global health). Kameron Schroeder and Yidan Chu from iMEP received the Highest Achieving Student Award and Student Leadership Award respectively.

In his closing remarks, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Scott MacEachern, who also was on campus, said global health, medical physics and environmental policy are essential disciplines to making our societies more resilient to crises.

“The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that we all live in one interconnected world; that crises are not deterred by borders or denial; and that science and medicine are central to the productive responses to all of the challenges that face us,” he said.


Chancellor Youmei Feng (standing center left) and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Scott MacEachern (standing center right) join colleagues after the online commencement ceremony

The Class of 2020

Master of science in medical physics: Yimin Ni, Leshan Sun, Xiaomin Liang, Haonan Feng, Zhenyu Yang, Kai-Cheng Chuang, Tengya Peng, Zhengxin Gao, Xinru Chen, Yuqing Xia.

Master of science in global health: Annie Seaman, Hongsheng Lu, Sankalpa Bhattarai, Vivian Olabamiji, Yangyujin Liu, Erik Yan.

Master of environmental policy: Huijing Huang, Jingjing Xu, Kameron Schroeder, Miao Hu, Ren Cao, Shaoyin Sun, Siqi Liang, Songjia Zhang, Tianqi Wu, Zi’an Wang, Weijun Rong, Yeyi Bao, Yidan Chu, Yingjie Chen, Yiren Wang, Yumin Wang.