DKU graduates urged to ‘ride the tide’ and rise to the challenge | Duke Kunshan University

DKU graduates urged to ‘ride the tide’ and rise to the challenge

May 27, 2021

By DKU Staff

Be ambitious trendsetters and make your own luck by pursuing your passion – that was the message to graduates in Duke Kunshan’s Class of 2021 this spring when the university held its annual commencement exercises.

Students in four master’s programs – environmental policy (iMEP), global health, management studies (MMS), and medical physics – celebrated graduation with faculty, staff, and family and friends at two ceremonies, on May 7 and June 3. Both were livestreamed for those unable to attend.

As Covid-19 meant Duke Kunshan could hold only a virtual ceremony last year, programs also invited Class of 2020 graduates this year to collect their degree certificates in person.

Students in four DKU master’s programs gathered to celebrate graduation with faculty, staff, university leaders, family and friends, and special guests

Delivering the opening remarks, Duke Kunshan Chancellor Youmei Feng recognized the students’ perseverance, hard work and talent, and urged them to rise to the global challenges they will face in life and their careers.

“No matter where you are or what you do, I hope you will put social responsibility ahead of personal gain and carry with you Duke Kunshan’s commitment to building a better, more-inclusive world,” she said. “Your expectation of excellence will define your accomplishments, and what you accomplish will reflect on Duke Kunshan.”

Master’s students at Duke Kunshan are conferred degrees from Duke University, with graduates in the MMS program receiving their degree from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

Speaking via a remote link on June 3, William Boulding, dean of Fuqua, described graduation as “both the end and the beginning.” He told students to cherish the friendships they had gained at Fuqua and to make the most of their talents. “Being in Team Fuqua also means a greater responsibility, and I hope you will always be a person of integrity,” he said.

Guest commencement speakers Yuwen Liu and Joe Wu, two leading figures in the world of venture capital, both shared their personal and professional journeys to encourage graduates to seek fulfilment through knowledge and cooperation.

“Close your eyes and imagine that today is the last day of your life. How would you like your family members and friends to sum up your life? Use this as a reference to make big decisions,” Liu, founding partner at BOHE Angel Fund, said on May 7.

“Make ambitious goals, be the one who rides the tide in times of change,” she added. “I hope that all of you can choose the right trends, and even try to set a new trend like your well-known Duke alumni.”

Guest speakers Yuwen Liu (left) and Joe Wu offer words of encouragement to the new Duke Kunshan graduates

Speaking on June 3, Joe Wu, serial entrepreneur and founding partner of MFund, introduced the backstory to his nickname “Lucky Joe” and the choices that have shaped his career, such as selling his tech company 91 Wireless to Baidu for US$1.9 billion and taking online games company NetDragon to IPO in Hong Kong.

“To some extent, it [luck] is given to you. It is the things you cannot choose for yourself. Like your country, your race, and your family,” he said. “It [also] comes from how you view this world and how you utilize every chance that you have to make important choices. Although every choice seems to be an isolated moment in time, these choices gradually connect with one another to evolve into your life story.”

Wu urged students to look inside and to ask themselves what matters most. “The preciousness of life is not determined by money, power, or any labels that come with these things,” he added. “It should be defined by love, meaning, happiness and what matters most to you in the long run.”

In total, almost 100 graduates in the classes of 2020 and 2021 attended the two ceremonies, with about a dozen more joining via livestream from around the world, including the United States and New Zealand.

Students presented this year’s Excellence in Teaching Awards to James Bowsher (medical physics), Qian Long (global health), Kathinka Fürst (iMEP) and David Brown (MMS). Outstanding Student awards went to Zhen Li (global health) and Xurui Jin (medical physics), while Xin Li and Gui Xian Ong (both iMEP) received the Highest Achieving Student Award and Student Leadership Award respectively.

Class of 2021 speakers (from left) Ruohan Wang, Yan Zhang and Mengqin Li

Yan Zhang (global health), and Mengqin Li and Ruohan Wang (MMS) served as this year’s class speakers.

Zhang said at the May 7 ceremony, “In the time of Covid-19 … I hope we can all take our time and think carefully about what we really desire. Take it easy and think positively as you face difficulties and uncertainties.” (Read the full speech.)

On the June 3, Li and Wang spoke of their warm memories of studying at both Fuqua in the U.S. and at Duke Kunshan in China. “In each loss there is a gain,” Wang said. “Though some students didn’t have the chance to stroll around Duke’s beautiful campus in Durham due to the global pandemic, we have managed to not only fulfill the spirit of Team Fuqua but also enrich it. … We are not isolated by the Covid-19; instead, we are more united.”

At both ceremonies, students presented the graduating class gift to Xiaolin Chang, vice chancellor for government relations, who accepted the donation on behalf of the university.

Scott MacEachern, vice chancellor for academic affairs, delivered the closing remarks. He urged students to meet the challenges faced by today’s international community by applying the knowledge they had learned at Duke Kunshan and a sense of social responsibility and empathy.

“Thank you so much, all of you, for deciding to spend some of your most formative years here with us,” he said. “Like you, our university is young, and like DKU, you have a great future ahead of you. Duke Kunshan remains your academic home, and we hope you will return home often.”

Chancellor Youmei Feng delivers her opening remarks

Scott McEachern, vice chancellor for academic affairs, delivers his closing remarks

The Class of 2021

Master of science in medical physics: Yijia Fan, Zhen Li, Banghao Zhou

Master of science in global health: Darci B. Davis, Xurui Jin, Liang Liu, Yongjing Ping, Wenhao Qi, Permata Imani Ima Silitonga, Leiting Wang, Chole Sage Wyatt, Yan Zhang

Master of environmental policy: Han Ding, Chengxi Li, Xin Li,Gui Xian Ong, Qiaotong Pang, Sichong Sun

Master of management studies: Nicolas Adams, Tanzil Aslaoui, Brooks Butler, YunXiang Cao, Chia-Yun Chang, Xiner Chen, Zhixia Dang, Weiwei Guo, Sifan Hu, Xin Hua, Shiyu Huang, Shuqi Huang, Valencia Jackson, Zhaoyun Ji, Aleeha Kalam, Chenhao Kang, Dong Kang, Dillon Kay, Shuang Lai, Yaxin Le, Mengqin Li, Siteng Li, Xingxi Li, Yixi Li, Yajie Liang, Zhen Lin, Chia Hsin Liu, James Long, Sijie Lu, Zijie Lu, Runpeng Ma, Yun Ma, Olasubomi Madamidola, Allison Marsh, Christian Meike, Yanjie Niu, Dalton Nycz, Nikila Ojili, Landon Osteen, Siyu Qian, Yiran Rao, Jesse Rosenblatt, Yifan Shi, Graham Smith, Yifan Song, Chengcheng Sun, Chengcheng Wang, Huiyong Wang, Mengfei Wang, Ruohan Wang, Yunzhe Wang, Xinyi Wei, Zhongtai Wei, Jing Weng, Jiayu Wu, Runqing Wu, Chenxin Xiao, Xinyi Xie, Xinyue Xiong, Ankang Yang, Liao Ye, Qiunan Yu, Yifei Yuan, Carly Zaccaria, Haoran Zhang, Hengxi Zhang, Liang Zhang, Sujie Zhang, Xuanyu Zhang, Yican Zhang, Yu Zhang, Yuhui Zhang, Fangyi Zhao, Yijing Zhao, Yue Zhao, Jiajun Zheng, Yuanyuan Zhou, Jianhao Zhu


Fuqua Scholars

The top 10 percent of each graduating MMS class is honored as Fuqua Scholars.

Class of 2020: Xiao Wei Huang, Daniel Stanley Nathan, Chia-Ching Su, Jiacheng Wang, Shengling Wang, Mengfu Zou

Class of 2021: Nicolas George Dyer Adams, Yaxin Le, Zijie Lu, Runpeng Ma, Yun Ma, Runqing Wu, Hengxi Zhang, Yue Zhao

Discover more about the graduate programs at Duke Kunshan: