发布时间:2014年10月3日 10:17:51 浏览次数:

Speech to Freshman Students on the Opening Ceremony of the

New Academic Year (Unabridged)

by Professor Dean Gan

(Dean of Gengdan Institute of Beijing University of Technology)


My dear students:

    Today, you come here to begin with a four-year journey to study, with excitement and expectation, with hope and dream. First of all, on behalf of all staff and faculty, I congratulate all of you. Welcome to Gengdan! I would like take this opportunity, to express my cordial greetings to all of you, and from the bottom of my heart to thank your teachers and your parents.

    Before you choosing Gengdan, you may surf our website, skim through the enrolment brochures. You may also visit our campus personally with your family and listen to our faculty’s course introduction, or participate our intensive military training. All of these are helpful. As Dean, I feel necessary to introduce Gengdan to you, and give you a brief sketch of learning, living and making friends on campus for four years to come.

    How to describe Gengdan? I think Gengdan is a college with five significant characteristics.

    First of all, Gengdan has an advanced philosophy of running a school. There are over 1000 universities in China. But there is a persistent tendency that most of public universities become more and more bureaucratic and administrative, and meantime private universities become more profit-seeking. All of these phenomena actually deviate from spirits of the modern university. Fortunately, Gengdan has inherited the spirit of martyrs, not for profit but for public interests. The founder of the Institute not only pours all of her own wealth into the school, but also expends all of tuition fees in the past night years on school capacity building.

    Professor Richard Levin, President of Yale University once said, no ambition, no first-class university. Gengdan’s motto “loyalty, for the state and the people” is exactly same as Harvard’s “Let your friend be truth” and Princeton’s “In the Nation”s Service and in the Service of All Nations”. Our motto embodies our dream, our passion and our ambition. I hope all of you could embrace “Loyalty, for the state and the people” in four years to come, and become persons with holistic view, and persons with senses of responsibility, mission and commitment..

    Gengdan mission is to provide students with excellent service for their development, success and achievement. Universities can not be utilitarian. Making money and officials ranking are not our goals and value. The University is a place where young people with passionate and experienced professionals jointly explore. All of us deeply know faults of the traditional examination-oriented education system, which constraints our freedom to grow, curb our creativity, affect our physical and mental development. The system makes us become passive persons, lack of innovative spirits and passion, and a unidirectional people. Our educational target is to make you more creative with combination of composite and applied type of high-level talent. We think the core value of university is to foster you up, it should be human-oriented embodiment, following up it is a talent and achievement. No matter development, or talent and achievement, all of them lies in our excellent service, including effective curriculum, aptitude-based teaching, and successful communication with various student clubs on campus.

    We hope, in future four years, all of you excels in personality development over a degree obtaining, ability over knowledge, and the quality over the quantity of aging. In a word, Gengdan will do its own best for students to complete their studies, to provide our students with super value service of both spiritual and material when them stepping into society. This is also the reason of why so many outstanding alumni of Harvard and Stanford contribute to their alma mater. Because of their alma mater provides them with lifetime value far beyond their expectation. Gengdan will provide this kind of service and value to our students.

    Secondly, Gengdan has a strong council. In the worldwide, a common point of all outstanding organizations is that they always have a brilliant leadership, no matter world-class multi-national corporation such as Intel, Apple and Google; .or prestigious universities such as war-time southwest united university in China. Fortunately, Gengdan has an excellent leadership. For example, on Gengdan Institute School Council, the highest decision-making body of the Institute, there is an academician of Academy of Sciences of China, Professor Zhihong Xu, who was also former president of Peking University. There are also two passionate entrepreneurs with strong sense of mission on the Council. One is founder of the New Oriental, Mr Minhong Yu, the other is founder of Gengdan Institute, Ms. Xiaowen Wang . Mr Yu, with extremely high social visibility, extensive network of resources and dream of building modern university dream, is also a model of practicing China dream. Currently Mr Yu is Chairman of the Council. He will definitely inject Gengdan with new vitality and bring Gengdan to a new era. Two educational experts and emeritus leaders with noble character are also on the Council, including Mr Boyuan Fan, former vice mayor of Beijing; Mr Yanzh Lin, former deputy secretary of Jilin Provincial Party Committee, and four presidents of Beijing University of Technology. The structure and expertise of the Council determines scientific and forward-looking strategic decision-making and implementation, and guarantee Gengdan on the path of sustainable development in the future.

    Thirdly, Gengdan has a beautiful campus. When you are on campus, you may not feel repressed brought by crowded and many-storied buildings, no fake antique building here. Instead you can see a lot of old big tress full of the campus, you may feel the spirits of Martyr Geng Dan pervading on the campus. The campus is full of tree-lined roads and paths, and neat and ordered building with bright windows and clean tables. Our cherry is particularly well-known in the town. The campus has pleasant scenery all four seasons. The campus emanates cultural elements, dotted with nine large outdoor art works, produced by four winners of the Pritzker Architecture Award, and by the dean of the school of Space Art Design at Harvard University. The Institute combines serenity of both Oxford and Cambridge with elegance of the Ivy League University. Beautiful campus, abundant collection of books plus state of art facilities excellent provide excellent support to our students. As ancient Chinese sage Xunzi’s sayings goes, when one is surrounded by the virtuous, he”ll become upright himself. All in all, Gengdan is a perfect place for study knowledge, leering a skill and competing, The library is a good place,not only for reading, making friends and reviewing for graduate entrance examinations, but also encountering Mr Minhong Yu’s donated books.

    Fourthly, we have an excellent faculty and staff. James Bryant Conant, 23ird president of Harvard University, once profoundly pointed out: that the university”s honor does not lie in its buildings and quantity, but generations of another generation of excellent quality of the faculty. The school is to stand firmly if and only if the faculty be excellent. Not only has the campus big trees, but also inhabit masters. All deans of faculties graduated from Peking University, Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and other institutions. We also have well-known professors who ever studied abroad. With the help of senior professors, our major has more correct direction with professional characteristics, and curriculum becomes more flexible. We also recruit a lot of young gifted lecturers, the Institute if full of Full of vigor, vitality, passion and dream. With the support of returned talents from abroad, we have even more wide international vision, build our international networks and pave the way for our communicating and learning with world prestigious universities.

    Finally, in the past nine years, the Institute has established itself a quality-warrantee model of running school with specific characteristics. The Institute has aimed at “openness, internationalization and application”, positioned in training students with inter-disciplinary and applied talents with  creative spirits, and character with engineering background, cross discipline, school business union and international perspective, Through these we initially build up Gengdan Mode of ability-oriented talents training system. We realize stratified education through innovative teem experimental class; foster up innovation spirit through delivering entrepreneurship and innovation lectures, and explore inter-disciplinary talents training program through the combination of major and minor, and double-degree modules, focus on high-end applied talents training through practice priority, ability-oriented and laboratory construction and flexible curriculum.

    Gengdan takes internationalization as strategic priority, advocate the “choosing Gengdan, going global” as the philosophy of running school. The Institute has dispatched dozen of lecturers to Harvard University, Stanford University, Dublin Institute of Technology, Towson University, an Francisco State University for study and visiting. More importantly, Gengdan is eager to push jointly training and internship program with overseas counterparts, expand students’ international vision, and enhance their ability of cross-cultural communication.

    The Institute adheres to the students” autonomous rule advocated by Mr. Xingzhi Tao, an educational pioneer in modern China. We focus on students’ habit cultivating and capacity-building of reading, thinking, criticizing and ability of expression. We take students” autonomous rules as the most effective way to facilitate socialization of students on campus. We hope to cultivate our students with sense of social citizens with independent personality and he spirit of freedom through various lectures delivered by well-known masters and studying abroad program.

    In this era of opportunity, on this beautiful campus, I have two expectations of you:

    Firstly, learning to learn. The American famous futurists Alvin Toffler once said, in the future,     illiteracy no longer refers to the illiterate people, but those who lacks of ability to learn

    Learning to learn is to learn how to think logically. There is an old Chinese fable about self-contradiction. As early as Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, Chinese noticed the consistency of logical thinking. However, in the worldwide, Chinese nation is still a lack of logical thinking though over 2000 years has passed. In the history of the nation, we have not created scientific and rigorous logical system, still lack of scientific spirit, not to mention to learn Liar Paradox, Prisoner”s Dilemma and Godel”s Incompleteness Theorem and other issues related wit philosophy, economics and physics from metaphysics such as self-contradiction. We can say no logical thinking, no science, and no democracy. The current examination-oriented education still ignores logical thinking. Gengdan will transfer the examination-oriented education to applied education, to innovative education, we must first learn how to think logically.

    With logical thinking, learning to learn is to learn to think critically. Our brains belong to ourselves, not to others. Our thoughts should not be ruled by others Our  brains should not rely on other people. We want to think independently,while keeping the curiosity of the world. Without carefully thinking,fully accepting and completely rejecting the ideas of others are fault of thinking.

    We should critically accepted the views of others, can”t accept arguments and views without any data support; no matter these views are from books, from lecturers, or from parents. Exercising critical thinking is indispensable for excelling ourselves. The Institute is committed to cultivate high-end applied students, while one element of “high-end” is to cultivate critical thinking students.

    Learning to learn is to love reading. German great thinker Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, reading a good book is just like talking with noble people. Great books touch our heart, guide us to find themselves, and the way of life. Reading makes us progress, gives us wise. More reading, more happiness.

    Learning to learn is to learn how to express ourselves. Today, a fundamental requirement from society and employer is that the graduates’ ability of expression becomes more important. The first aim of learning to learn is to learn how to write. Reading, thinking and writing are all instrumental in not only teasing out our strands of thinking, stimulating and activating our thinking, but also developing our intelligence, cultivating the habit of thinking critically and creatively as well. Learning to express includes both of writing and speaking. It can be said that the ability to express verbally is at least as important as written skills, if not even more important. Because Interpersonal communication, group communication and public speaking are all in need of oral expression. It may seem easy to think and speak clearly, but it is hard because both of thinking and speaking involve rich implication with strong application.

    The second expectation is that I hope you to learn how to get along with other persons. People represent total social relations. For all of you, the university is a key node from a natural person to social person. Learning to how to live together with different people is a kind of knowledge, an ability, and an art as well. For those heroes of IT era, one of keys to success is effective coexistence with classmates. For instance, Jerry Yang and David Filo, co-founder of Yahoo!,Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems,and Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce of Intel, each couple are either classmates or colleagues. In fact many of entrepreneurial heroes of our times are similar with these couples. We all know that the establishment of Google benefited from the support of the Alumni Association of Stanford University even before no people know the pattern of profit-seeking of Google. Then 100 thousand dollar from the Association brought Google the greatest success of today. From this perspective, we should take our classmates as our potential strategic partner in the future entrepreneurial venture. Therefore, learning to co-exist with other people and to enhance this ability would benefit yourself for ever.

    The Chinese famous writer Liu Qing once said, there are several crucial steps in our life. This is particularly true for our students. I think that forthcoming four-year study at the Institute is especially crucial for you. I hope all of you learning to learn,learning to think, learning to express, learning to get along with others, and keeping going ahead, you will become outstanding graduates with excellent skills out of countless ordinary students. With all the best wishes for you!

    Thank you all!