On 11 November, UIC graduates of 2017 and their families attended the 58th Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) Commencement to receive their bachelor’s degrees. There were 1289 graduates this year, with 99 receiving first class honours degrees.

The graduation ceremony began at 3:00 p.m. with the Chinese national anthem, and then the official declaration of the opening of the commencement given by the Chairman of the Council and the Court of HKBU, Mr Cheng Yan Kee.

2The ceremony begins

3The audience joins in singing the HKBU anthem

Students looked excited and eager to cross the stage as it became their turn to accept their degree. There were 275 students receiving a Bachelor of Arts, 662 receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration, 270 receiving a Bachelor of Science, 29 receiving a Bachelor of Social Sciences and 53 receiving a Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration.

When all students had crossed the stage, HKBU Vice-President (Research and Development), Prof Rick W K Wong presented the Scholastic Awards. This year, 21 students received the Scholastic Award, and were applauded loudly for their excellent achievements.

4The 58th Commencement has begun

hkbu commencement chin 1A student receives his degree from HKBU President and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Roland T Chin

6HKBU President and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Roland T Chin gives his graduate address

The Address to the Graduates was presented next by HKBU President and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Roland T Chin. Prof Chin’s address was titled ‘Embrace A.I. with Liberal Arts’, in which he focused on how important artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology and innovation are for the future. He started his speech with a question of global issues, and what responsibility these new graduates have to conquer these issues. This led into a mention of a UN meeting where a robot named Sophia raised the issue of A.I. and its relevance to the future of global problem solving.

Prof Chin quoted Steve Jobs, saying “It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing.” He encouraged students to use their liberal arts education to thrive in what he called ‘the A.I. era’. He concluded that three main takeaways students should get from their liberal arts degrees are critical thinking, adaptability to change and compassion. To stick with the speech’s theme, Prof Chin chose to end with an adapted Star Wars quote, with his final words to students being “May the A.I. force be with you. May liberal arts education empower you.”

7Graduates wait to receive their degrees

8Ms Mandy Xie Liyan gives the graduate speech

After Prof Chin’s address to the graduates, the class valedictorian and Environmental Science graduate, Ms Mandy Xie Liyan gave a speech to her classmates. Mandy said that she originally chose to attend UIC because she thought it would be the best school to give her a global mindset, improve her English and help her develop as a whole person. Mandy said that, “Four years later, I found that all my expectations came true”.

Through UIC, Mandy said she learned that “Learning is for developing our minds and our hidden potentials, not only our GPA”, highlighting how UIC produces top students while also allowing students to emerge as well-rounded global citizens. For example, Mandy, having tried and failed dancing in her younger years, had the opportunity to take a dancing course at UIC, which helped her to realize her potential in the activity. She has now gained a love for dancing, along with so much more from UIC. She ended her speech by thanking UIC and HKBU for giving students an unforgettable college experience.

9A student smiles for a photo

10President Ng Ching-Fai speaks to the new graduates

After the closing of the commencement by Mr Cheng Yan Kee, students filed outside to take a group photo on the stairs, which was followed by a reception. Students gathered with their friends and families to take photos, as well as receive gifts ranging from flowers to teddy bears.

When asked about the day, a Finance graduate, Olivia Lin Xiaoqing said she felt excited to graduate and was glad to have her parents, aunt and uncle present to help her celebrate. Olivia was happy to share that she has already received an offer to complete a postgraduate programme in Chinese Business Studies at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

10aStudents pose for photos with their family members

10bMany families came to join in the celebrations

10cFinance graduate, Olivia Lin Xiaoqing, poses with her family

Another Finance graduate, Bill Sun Dezhen, was also feeling the excitement on graduation day, and he had also received an offer to further his studies in Finance at City University of Hong Kong. When asked what he learned from UIC, Bill emphasized the importance of presentation skills, and how he now feels very confident to present in English thanks to his courses at UIC.

By around 6:00 p.m., the big event began to settle down after a long and rewarding day of celebration. UIC wishes all graduates the best of luck with the next part of their journey, whether that be to complete postgraduate studies or to join the workforce.

Reporter: Samantha Burns
Photographers: Ivy Liao, Deen He, Samantha Burns
Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He
(from MPRO)