“Seeking truth” as the foundation and “pursuing innovation” as the soul

Remarks by WU Zhaohui, President of Zhejiang University at the gala celebrating the 125th anniversary of Zhejiang University

Your Excellencies leaders, distinguished guests and alumni,

Faculty, students and comrades,

Good evening!

Today, we are gathering on the banks of the Qizhen Lake to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Zhejiang University. Let me begin by extending, on behalf of Zhejiang University, my warm welcome to all participating leaders, guests and alumni, my hearty congratulations to the faculty and students as well as all ZJUers all over the globe, and my heartfelt gratitude to those who have long cared for and supported the development of Zhejiang University.

125 years ago, Qiushi Academy, Zhejiang University’s predecessor, was founded in the context of the Reform Movement in the late Qing Dynasty. Since then, Zhejiang University has blazed a trail for exploring a new higher education model and embarked on a march of solidarity with the Chinese nation and the motherland. The centennial declaration to invigorate the nation with education was echoing at the old site of Puchang Alley; the tough years over the course of the University’s Westward Movement witnessed the heroic struggle against hardships; the ancient temples and huts in Meitan, Zunyi chronicled the unremitting craving for truths; the historical merits of “Two Bombs and One Satellite” were inscribed with the genuine commitment of the sages to the nation; the major initiatives in implementing reform displayed a sense of responsibility and courage to break new grounds; and the great journey of striving to build a world-class university was teeming with a galaxy of talents in innovation and creation. Today, Zhejiang University is firmly walking “in the vanguard” in accordance with the general objective and requirement guided by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. The spirit of “seeking truth” lays the foundation and the spirit “pursuing innovation” constitutes the soul. The ethos of “seeking truth” and “pursuing innovation” has been deeply imprinted in the DNA of ZJU faculty and students, and it has become a universal value to sew together all ZJUers both at home and abroad. 

Over the past 125 years, each and every ZJU generation has been striving to serve the nation by remaining true to their original aspirations and staying innovative in development.

Bearing in mind the country’s most fundamental interests, ZJU has been unswervingly dedicated to the missions of invigorating the country with education, contributing to the nation with science, and strengthening the country with talent in various aspects, from proposing the principles of governance, education and practical learning at the founding of Qiushi Academy to renouncing the pen for the sword during the “World War II”, from making a resolute written pledge to composing the “Ballard of Malan” in the Gobi desert, from the university-wide participation in the construction of the new socialist countryside to the devotion to the anti-poverty and rural revitalization campaigns, and from the victory over SARS to the fight against the Covid-19.

Over the past 125 years, each and every ZJU generation has been adhering to the craftsmanship of education in a persistent and progressive fashion by remaining true to moral education and staying innovative in talent cultivation.

Bearing in mind the mission of cultivating talents for the Party and the state, ZJU has turned out a galaxy of elites for national rejuvenation via a series of transformations, from “cultivating loyal and resolute leaders who can shoulder great responsibilities, navigate the times and change the national destiny” to “cultivating all-round and high-quality innovative talents and leaders with global competitiveness,” from the tenets of “placing students first, cultivating talent in an integrated manner, seeking truth and pursuing innovation, and striving for excellence” to a fusion of “building character, improving quality, cultivating ability and imparting knowledge,” and from the Mixed Class to the Chu Kochen Honors College.

Over the past 125 years, each and every ZJU generation has been moving toward the forefront of the world in a daring and determined way by remaining true to veracity and staying innovative in academics.

Focusing on the frontiers and the urgent demands, ZJU has been contributing to China’s self-reliance and self-improvement as a powerful national strategic force behind science and technology, from the eminent “Chen-Su” School in the field of differential geometry to a host of major breakthroughs in a diversity of fields, such as shield equipment, high-end control, clean energy, disease prevention and control, and special structures, from the creation of the pillars of a great power, such as scientific and technological infrastructure, to the promotion of key projects, such as the digital assembly of aircraft, micro-satellites and brain-like computers, and from the compilation of The Series of Ancient Chinese Paintings to a pioneering breakthrough in the national high-end thinktank. 

Over the past 125 years, each and every ZJU generation has been exploring a unique educational paradigm in a pragmatic manner by remaining true to the ideal of building a world-class university and staying innovative in forming distinctive features.

At the forefront of higher education, ZJU has been striving to become a pioneer of reform and an exemplar of development in various ways, from arts and science to engineering and agriculture, from taking the lead in re-establishing science departments among technological universities to carrying out comprehensive reform, from reforming the postgraduate program, the system of faculties to the human resource system to deepening reform on education evaluation in the new era, and from creating the first international joint institute, polytechnic institute, and R&B International School of Medicine to constructing a global and open education system.

Looking back at the past, we are looking far ahead into the future; learning from the past, we are creating a brilliant future. In today’s world, we are striving to outperform each other. 

It is an era of profound changes in which the changes unseen in a century and the overall situation of national rejuvenation intersect and the rise of world-class universities will radically reshape the global climate of competition; 

It is an era of learning revolution in which disruptive technologies are altering the format of education in an all-round manner and Education 1.0 is shifting towards Learning 2.0;

It is an innovation-led era in which the core status of innovation is increasingly manifesting itself in the overall situation of China’s modernization and innovation has become the primary driving force behind development;

It is a talent-driven era in which the world’s scientific center and talent hub are evolving apace and the key to winning the future lies in talents—the first resource;

It is an era of strategic victory in which achieving greater dreams entails looking at a bigger picture, carving out a fuller outline, expanding on a clear strategic vision, speeding up strategic iteration and seizing on strategic opportunities.

As a 125-year-old institution which has inherited glory and dreams, Zhejiang University will be more determined to build a world-class university with Chinese characteristics and make new achievements on the path of national rejuvenation.

We will lay the groundwork for talent cultivation and take root in the fecund soil of China.

We will make the most of the historic opportunity of the intersection of the Two Centenaries, deepen our understanding of running universities in China, instill the legacy of a world-class university into the dynamic practice of Chinese-style modernization, transform the rich cultural endowment of the Chinese nation into an elixir of life to climb to the top, and provide a ZJU-based pathway to building a world-class university with Chinese characteristics.

We will open up the source of groundwork and shape talents in the new era.

We will return to the cradle of education that nurtures people and respects life, develop an educational philosophy that promotes the holistic development of people, create an inclusive and integrated educational ecology, provide educational experiences that perceive the truth of science, the way of engineering, the benevolence of humanity and the beauty of art, stimulate learning featured by a sense of mission, and cultivate more all-round and high-quality innovative talents and leaders with global competitiveness.

We will respect the way of enlightenment and espouse academic ideals.

We will ride on the tides of innovation and transformation, promote the interactive integration among disciplines, talents and research at a high level, build ties with top scholars and innovation networks around the world, make a profusion of major original achievements, achieve a comprehensive leap in upgrading innovation capacity, build a world-class academic system marked by Chinese characteristics and a ZJU style, and make greater contributions to building the world’s major scientific center, important talent hub and outstanding platform of innovation.

We will understand the virtue of benevolence and have at heart the interests of humanity.

We will take the initiative in responding to the common challenges faced by mankind, extract the essence of ideas from the treasure trove of human culture, promote dialogues and exchanges between different civilizations, present the unique charm of the Chinese civilization in a panoramic way, foster values, morality and justice connected with common destiny, play a leading role in the spiritual culture of a first-class university, and contribute our wisdom and power to the sustainable development of human civilizations.

We will have lofty aspirations towards stepping towards the forefront of the world.

We will yearn for progress, foster systematic development in line with the strategic direction of “higher quality, more excellence, greater respect and bigger dreams”, make strides in terms of quality, characteristic, contribution and reputation, create a constellation of first-class disciplines, and promote the overall strength of the university so as to rank among the world’s top universities.

Zhejiang University is a majestic institution of higher education, tinged with both ancient charm and new ambience. Over the past 125 years, the spirit of “seeking truth and pursuing innovation” has increasingly displayed vigorous vitality. In this ever-evolving world, the ZJU community will bear in mind the care and expectation of general secretary Xi Jinping. We will remain true to our original aspirations, undertake the mission of national rejuvenation, conform to the ideal of pursuing transcendence, commit ourselves to becoming trend-setters, integrate patriotism into the great cause of building a world-class university with Chinese characteristics, and strive to write a timeless chapter that will live up to the expectations of the era and the people.

Thank you!

Source: Zhejiang University Official Website