【Wendu News】WKU’s Historic Inaugural Commencement. The first American commencement held in China



The University flag, followed by the mace.  Then the Chairman of the Board, Chancellor, and platform guests, accompanied by music.  Amid the applause came the 187 Wenzhou-Kean University’s first class of graduating students who are the protagonists of this event.

On the afternoon of May 28th, as the first Sino-US cooperative university in Zhejiang Province and one of the six Sino-Foreign cooperative universities in China, Wenzhou-Kean University (WKU) held its Inaugural Commencement in the Wenzhou Grand Theatre.

Deputy Party Secretary and Mayor of Wenzhou Mr. Zhang Geng, President Dawood Farahi of Kean University, President Li Xiaoqun of Wenzhou University, Consul General of United States in Shanghai Mr. Hanscom Smith, and municipal leaders Mrs. Li Xiuzheng and Mrs. Zheng Zhaoyang attended this event.  New Jersey Congressman Albio Sires sent a congratulatory letter presented by Mrs. Ada Morell, Chair of the Kean University Board of Trustees, to Mr. Frank Wang, Chairman of WKU Board of Directors

During the Commencement ceremony, the plate of Wenzhou-Kean University Alumni Association was unveiled.

This is the first American graduation ceremony in Wenzhou, but you could find examples of Chinese and Western cultural integration throughout the occasion.  In a video welcome from Kean University’s recent American Commencement, all the Kean graduates sent their congratulations to WKU graduates spoken in Chinese: “Biyele, Zhuheni.”  President of Kean University Dr. Farahi suggested all graduates rise up and say ”Xie Xie’’ to their parents.

What are highlights of this event?

Mr. Zhang Geng, Deputy Party Secretary and Mayor, delivered his speech in English. He said, “Here, I want to take this opportunity to re-emphasize: The Wenzhou municipal government will always support WKU.  The University shall gear itself toward the direction of “High quality, internationalization, and become a model university.  By working together, we will realize the dream of ‘One University, one city,’ and strive to build WKU as a model of excellence in Sino-U.S. cooperative education.”

Mayor Zhang is no stranger to Kean USA.  Thirteen years ago, he had undertook a short-term study at Kean University.  Last September, when he served as the deputy mayor of Hangzhou, he visited Kean University during his trip in the United States.  He remarked, “Today I am very delighted to meet some new friends from Kean University.  And I am especially happy to see many of my old friends here.”


WKU Chancellor Mr. Lu Shanzheng, a famous mathematician, made a connection between life and math in his speech.  “I hope you are filled with goodness and uphold justice.  Human life is like a curve in the coordinate axis.  Time is the horizontal axis; the value of life is the vertical one.  So, one’s achievement of life is the integral of the curve.  Mathematics, the subject I have been studying my whole life, is all about truth, goodness and beauty.  I hope you all can always seek truth, goodness and beauty in your life.  I believe, through unremitting efforts, your integral of life value will reach its maximum one day.”

Dr. Farahi expressed his aspirations for WKU in a unique way: he brought his granddaughter on the stage, “I wish your children, your grandchildren, will come to study one day at Wenzhou-Kean University.”


Prof. Qu Jia from Wenzhou Medical University presented the Commencement speech. He said, “Wenzhou Spirit –always striving to stand in the lead – is rooted in our genes. We’d like to tell the world: even if others prefer shark fins and other expensive dishes, we will still remain committed to mixed fresh cucumber with vinegar and make it No. 1 across China and then the first of its kind in the world.  Wenzhou-Kean University is the first Sino-American co-founded university with independent legal person status, which also shows the pioneering spirit rooted in Wenzhou people.”

The valedictorian Ms. Jin Ningtong delivered an impressive speech. “When people ask me about the uniqueness of WKU, I think of three characteristics:  tolerance, critical thinking and entrepreneurship, which I believe are the most valuable lessons I learned …”
Renowned artists Ms. Tao Huimin and Ms. Shaoyan gave the classic Yue opera performance—18 Miles to Bid farewell/Say Goodbye.

During the degree conferral, 187 students lined up to shake hands with the President and Deans, and then received their degree one by one, along with photos.

Kean exchange student Akeem Miller requested to graduate in Wenzhou and attend the WKU commencement after finishing the last semester in his senior year in Wenzhou. He became the most noted student in the event.