Congratulations to the HNC class of 2013!

Ambassador Gary Locke

Last week, Project Pengyou was invited to film and be witness to the commencement of Hopkins-Nanjing Center’s class of 2013. Both Chinese and American dignitaries were present at the ceremony, along with professors from the center and commencement speaker U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke.

The audience at commencement.
The audience at commencement.

In her remarks, Chinese Co-director Huang Chengfeng spoke warmly of the graduating class, saying she sometimes woke up laughing when she dreamed of her students.

“The students are my family and the center is my home,” she said. “Students, I hope you will treat the HNC as your second home… and visit often. We are one family!”

American Co-director Jason Patent lauded HNC’s accomplished faculty, which stood and received cheers from students.

Ambassador Gary Locke spoke of the enduring gift of education and how his own schooling in the United States allowed him to become governor of Washington and secretary of commerce.

“That’s what makes days like today so profoundly important,” he said. “To each of us, to our families, to our societies, our countries and to humanity.”

The ambassador then urged students to use their education not to lead more comfortable lives but more meaningful ones. “You must use the power of education to confront, understand and alleviate the suffering and the conflict in our society.”

American valedictorian giving her speech in Chinese.
American valedictorian giving her speech in Chinese.

But the most surprising part of the commencement were the two selected student speakers, one Chinese and one American, who gave speeches in the opposite language. Both spoke of how the center had changed them, how they had learned from their roommates and classmates and came to appreciate and respect differences in cultures and ideas.

Where else but in HNC’s unique program where Chinese and international students study in English and Chinese, respectively, would you see two students from different cultures delivering their speeches in each other’s languages?

This is part of why studying at the HNC is so special and why Project Pengyou is proud to be working with the center.

Congratulations to the HNC class of 2013! We’re excited to support the growth of your alumni community on Project Pengyou in the coming months.