NCNU finds alternative, pandemic-conscious measures to send off graduating class
National Chi Nan University bade farewell to its latest crop of graduates on June 13 at the student center, taking care to implement precautionary measures such as spacing apart events held by different departments and degrees over a course of three days to celebrate their academic achievements safely amid the coronavirus crisis.
The theme “Heartfelt Experiences of NCNU,” which was chosen by student and staff votes in school-wide elections, represents the solid pool of knowledge, experience, and console that will accompany imminent graduates as they jet off into society and encounter the challenges that lie ahead.
This year, a total of 1,539 students — 1,095 undergraduates, 402 graduates, and 42 Ph.D candidates — succeeded in completing their degrees on the beautiful mountain campus of NCNU. With global traffic coming to a grinding halt due to border control and travel restrictions amid the Covid-19 outbreak, international pupils turned to the internet to share their moment of joy and news of returning home.
Of the 166 international graduates, those from Hong Kong or Macau also saw family members gather at remote graduation celebrations organized by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong and NCNU alumni networks, and hosted by the HK-based Highrise Service Foundation and the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial House in Macau.
The graduation ceremony began with an auspicious bang on the gong by school President Dr. Yuhlong Oliver Su (蘇玉龍), followed by live performances of Gamelan, the traditional ensemble and predominately percussive music of Indonesia. The students of NCNU’s Department of Southeast Asian Studies and their instructor, Professor Lin Kuo-chen (林幗貞), performed “Tari Baris,” a warrior’s song, and “Tari Pendet,” a song for welcoming visitors, to send off the graduating class with words of courage and blessings.
Pointing out how NCNU’s exemplary academic-industry partnerships were recognized this year by both the Ministry of Education and Global Views Monthly’s “Outstanding University Social Responsibility Projects” 2020 rankings, Dr. Su highlighted the importance of outreach and collaboration among instructors and students, among families, among communities. Remain “genuinely pure of heart, loyal, and dutiful,” Dr. Su reminded the graduating class.
Special speaker Sun Tai-ping (孫台平), former principal of Nan Kai University of Technology, called for an “ambitious” career, “virtuous” character, “compassionate” dialogue, “unwavering” heart, and “appreciative” mindset.
Outstanding alumnus Sun Chieh-heng (孫介珩), a filmmaker who graduated from NCNU with a history degree in 2008, added that “everyone will encounter different things, we need to recognize that everyone is unique and needing of cherishment; each effort will leave a lasting mark.”
In a display of NCNU’s internationalization and localization efforts, aboriginal instructor Cingul Tjulevegan (陸家賢) then led members of the university’s indigenous population to send off the graduating class with music and song.
This year also saw the additional participation of local community groups, including a creative bazaar featuring snacks and crafts, and student clubs ranging from guitar enthusiasts to Buddhist devotees. The ceremony ended on a high note with “Time to say goodbye, my friend,” a student-produced graduation program featuring specially written music and four seasons’ worth of memories.
Good luck to the graduating class of 2020!