Opening Ceremony of HKUST (GZ) Successfully Held

2022-09-01

Integrative innovation for facing the future! On the afternoon of September 1, the highly-anticipated opening ceremony of HKUST (GZ) was staged at the gymnasium of the university. HKUST (GZ) is the first mainland-Hong Kong cooperative university approved for establishment since the implementation of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and also the first major project completed after the issuance of the Overall Plan of Guangzhou Nansha for Deeping Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Comprehensive Cooperation Facing the World.

 

HKUST(GZ) adopts a brand-new, cross-disciplinary academic structure featuring “Hub” and “Thrust” to substitute the conventional one characterized by “school” and “department”, with ambitions to become the world’s first cross-disciplinary university and pioneer a new direction in the higher education sector.

 

 

New campus, new teachers and new students

Write a new chapter of HKUST (GZ)

 

HKUST (GZ) is a brand-new university with a new campus, new teachers and new students. They will write a new chapter in Nansha District, which is located in the core of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

 

At 2:30 p.m., the opening ceremony was officially kicked off with the majestic National Anthem of the People’s Republic of China.

 

HKUST (GZ) President Prof. Lionel Ni led the faculty representatives to wear the school logo for 10 PhD and postgraduate freshmen, extended a warm welcome to their arrival, and encouraged them to carry forward HKUST’s culture and DNA of “excellence-driven, continuous innovation and can-do spirit”.

 

At the ceremony, Prof. Lionel Ni delivered a speech. He warmly welcomed the arrival of 545 freshmen and 456 staff members. He said that every staff member of HKUST (GZ) has devoted themselves to the establishment of the university for more than 1000 days and nights before the official opening of HKUST (GZ). The university will try its utmost to equip each student with an integrative, innovative learning experience, and help them open a new chapter in life and march towards a bright future at No. 1, Duxue Road.

 

Prof. Lionel Ni added that for this historic moment today, governments at all levels and related departments, including the Ministry of Education, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong S.A.R, the Government of the Hong Kong S.A.R, the People’s Government of Guangdong Province and the People’s Government of Guangzhou Municipality, have offered great concern for and all-round support to the university since its preparation, and Guangzhou University, our close partner, has been working shoulder to shoulder with us all the time. Qu Shaobing, Secretary of the Party Committee of Guangzhou University, also gave a speech.

 

Zhang Yujia, a 2022 PhD freshman at the Thrust of Urban Governance and Design, Society Hub, shared her real feelings as a freshman representative at the very moment. As a post-00 girl, she went to the United States at the age of 16 and pursued her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at the University of Michigan and Columbia University respectively, which makes her familiar with experimental education and research reform education. HKUST (GZ) has deeply impressed her with the highly innovative cross-disciplinary approach, the combination of “relying on the motherland, based in the Greater Bay Area, and embracing the world”, well-read teachers, considerate student support services, and the new campus. “I have chosen to study here due to my irresistible attraction to the university,” she said emotionally.

 

 

Prof. Xu Jiang, Director of the Thrust of Microelectronics, Function Hub, gave a speech as a teacher representative. He said that Chinese scholars needed to study abroad to broaden their horizons in the past. In the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China has made remarkable achievements, which gives our scholars a more confident voice in the international academic community. Nowadays, the enormous development opportunities presented by the Guangdong-Hong Kong- Macao Greater Bay Area have attracted a large number of foreign colleagues from all over the world. HKUST (GZ) will surely offer everyone favorable opportunities and platforms to display their talent. He also encouraged all students to thank those planners, builders and supporters, as well as to express greater gratitude to this great era and the increasingly prosperous motherland.

 

 

Celebration staged simultaneously in Guangdong and Hong Kong

Jointly usher in the era of “HKUST 2.0”

 

In recent years, HKUST has mobilized the whole university to facilitate the establishment of HKUST (GZ). Under the “Unified HKUST and Complementary Campuses” framework, the two universities have maintained close cooperation. The official opening of HKUST (GZ) represents an important milestone in HKUST’s 30 years of history, marking an era of HKUST2.0 for both campuses.

 

Liao Cheung-sing, Council Chairman at HKUST, stressed in his video speech that the Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) highlighted the need to build a high-quality education system. The “HKUST 2.0” jointly built by HKUST and HKUST (GZ) will nurture innovative talents for the Greater Bay Area and the whole region. He said he was glad to see that the two universities are proactively advancing complementary cooperation, and thanked the governments and departments at all levels, Guangzhou University, and institutions and people from all sectors of society at home and abroad on behalf of HKUST.

 

 

Prof. Yeung Kai-cheung, Vice Council Chairman at HKUST, also delivered a speech in person. He said that HKUST will, as always, fully support the development of HKUST (GZ).

 

The leaders of HKUST also extended their greetings to HKUST (GZ) via video speech. Prof. Wei Shyy, President of HKUST, said that all students should keep in mind that “as long as we are united, we can handle any challenges”. By doing so, HKUST (GZ) and HKUST will create a bright future and make history together . He also urged our colleagues to keep the determination to try, to iterate, to refine and to adapt so that the university’s and society’s interests will be truly served.

 

 

Academician Nancy Yuk-Yu IP, President-Designate of HKUST, said that the official opening of HKUST (GZ) means the two campuses will have stronger advantages, richer resources and wider academic areas, which will benefit all members of the two campuses.

 

 

Demonstrate inheritance with innovation

Highlight the style of “HKUST”

 

To symbolize passiong on of the spirit, the opening ceremony features a torch relay ceremony that ingeniously integrates the scientific innovation incubation achievements of HKUST. The torch relay was aired on the big screen of the venue: several energetic students of HKUST appeared on screen of the event and passed the torch symbolizing the spirit of HKUST from the Clear Water Bay campus to the sea. Prof. Wei Shyy, Dean of the System Hub at HKUST (GZ), appeared on the screen. Steering a sailboat and braving the winds and waves, he successfully passed the torch to Nansha, Guangzhou, with the escort of Yunzhou Unmanned Surface Vehicle (SUV) developed by the alumni of HKUST. The picture of the torch being passed by the sailboat was taken by Dajiang UAV, a product of HKUST’s alumni.

 

The screen switched to the virtual “metaverse”, capturing the attention of the audience. In the realm of the metaverse, the Yiqing unmanned vehicle developed by the team of Prof. Liu Ming from HKUST (GZ) took the torch and came to the front of the “Red Bird Square”. As the virtual image of President Lionel Ni emerged on the screen, he took over the torch from the virtual image of HKUST Founding President Prof. Chia-Wei Woo, and completed the historic handover of the torch in the “metaverse”. Later, President Lionel Ni returned to reality through the “gate of the metaverse” and placed the real torch on the main stage. As the lights turned dark, a “laser knife” then slowly carved out the shared emblem of HKUST and HKUST (GZ).

 

 

It is learned that the three-dimensional model of the virtual campus and the “metaverse” images of the two presidents are technically empowered by the team of Xu Bin, a professor at the Thrust of Computational Media and Art, Information Hub at HKUST (GZ). This metaverse encounter also echoes a joint announcement made by the two universities this July to launch the world’s first “twin campuses in metaverse”. The plan aims to connect students and research activities at different geographical locations through immersive learning experience in the future.

 

The start of the opening ceremony pushed the event to a climax. The guests of honor came to the center of the stage, putting their right hands on the start button and lighting up the large device with the logo of “HKUST (GZ)” in the countdown of the audience.

 

 

In a flash of the moment, the “Red Bird Sundial” sculpture on the main screen turned into a vivid “red bird” which broke free from the screen and soared over the venue, amazing everyone present. The “Red Bird Sundial” is a shared emblem of HKUST and HKUST (GZ), motivating all teachers and students to cherish time and strive for innovation.

 

The successful conclusion of the ceremony marks that HKUST (GZ) is ready for its official opening and the new campus is put into use.

 

After the ceremony, the university held a seminar for academicians. Seven academicians, including Zheng Nanning, Gao Song, Mei Hong, Tang Tao, Zhang Tongyi, Wu Yundong and Zhang Mingjie, exchanged ideas with President Ni and Vice President Wu on The Challenges in Grooming Cross-disciplinary Talents online and offline.

 

On September 5, the fall semester of HKUST (GZ) will officially begin.

 

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