Chancellor Yaolin Liu at Commencement 2024

Dr. Yaolin Liu
Chancellor, Duke Kunshan University

Dear graduates, families and friends, distinguished guests, and colleagues, good morning!

Congratulations, Class of 2024! Today, we gather here to celebrate your graduation from Duke Kunshan University. Let me begin by saying “thank you”. I’d like to thank our graduates for choosing DKU and growing with this young university. Thank you to your families and friends for their support, and to our faculty and staff members for their dedication and hard work. I also express my gratitude to our founding partners, Duke University, Wuhan University, Kunshan City, the DKU Board of Trustees, the DKU Advisory Board, the DKU Education Development Foundation, and our donors and friends.

This year, 248 and 155 students are graduating with undergraduate and master’s degrees, respectively. Many of you will pursue further studies at top global universities, while others will work in leading organizations. Well done!

Our graduates have demonstrated resilience, strength, pursuit of excellence in and out of classrooms, on and off campus, and dedication to social good, all against the backdrop of a global pandemic.

Our students have also helped make the community more robust and more close-knit. At DKU, we study and live in a global community of students, professors, and staff from 70 countries. By engaging in daily cross-cultural conversations, expanding varsity sports, hosting art and cultural festivals, and organizing dialogues across borders, we enhance the richness and bonds of campus culture, better comprehend the complexity and diversity of the world, and promote intercultural understanding between people.

Our graduates have shown a commitment to pursuing academic excellence. You have won major awards and prestigious fellowships in various fields, participated in cutting-edge innovations such as 3D imaging and self-driving cars, conducted research projects such as a nationwide bird-collision study, and contributed to publications at key academic conferences and journals.

Our graduates have also demonstrated a strong sense of social responsibility and impact, as you apply your knowledge and skills outside the classroom. For example, you have used AI technologies to improve education for children with autism, helped medical professionals in Kunshan with their medical English, used augmented reality to preserve ancient cities and cultural relics, and researched new ways of patient care.

Dear graduates, as you prepare for the next chapter in your life, please allow me to share a few thoughts.

At DKU, we encourage our students to become the best version of themselves, to live with purpose, and to improve the world.

Towards this goal, first, I encourage you to continue to learn. Graduation from DKU is not the end of your education but rather the beginning of a lifelong education. This is especially necessary, considering that we live in a complex and ever-changing world.

Nurture relationships with others with the same diligence. The bonds you have created here, and those you will forge in the future, are precious and often transformative.

Lead with empathy and serve with dedication. Kindness and understanding will amplify your impact. Please stay humble as you rise.

Last but not least, take care of yourself. True success is not just about achievement but also joy and health. Please take time to rest and recharge.

Dear graduates, today, we not only celebrate your graduation from DKU but also mark the beginning of your lifelong journey as members of the DKU and Duke alumni families. I am confident that you’ll use what you have learned here to live productive and meaningful lives, and contribute to the world. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, and please remember that DKU will always be your home.

Congratulations again, 2024 class! Thank you all!

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