Da jia hao,
Thanks for the introduction, Pingqiang, even if I did not understand a word of what you said --- I am sure it was nice.
What a year! I believe that the class of 2020 (er ling er ling) will be remembered as one of the most famous classes for a while. At least I hope it will be for a while, otherwise, it would be a bad sign. With what happened with Covid-19, I am sure you have plenty of stories to tell to friends and family for years to come. And on top of this, we just made you run 20 meters on stage to come and get your diplomas, that was impressive to see you all sprint like that. By the way, i ran some statistics: the undergrads took on average 6 seconds to cover the 20 meters, while the MS and PhDs took 9 seconds. I am just saying: one of these two groups is out of shape, you decide which one.
美国加州理工大学 Mathieu Desbrun教授致辞
All right, usually, for graduation, I always say to students that it is the right time for them to recognize all the people who contributed to get them to where they are today. So you have to thank your parents, your friends, your professors, even all the admins that are in the room because they were always there for you. You achieved what you achieved because of their help. But this year, given what happened, I think you should save some of the kudos, some of the thanks, for yourself, because you had to deal with a very unprecedented, unplanned, and scary situation, but you managed to adapt. And this is actually a great life lesson: when life throws weird thinks at you, you have to adapt; so you got a crash course on adaptation this year, and hopefully, it will serve you well in the future.
So now you are heading in to the big world out there, outside of this campus. And I hope you will carry with you the SISTor spirit that you acquired here. I am calling it a spirit, because I have been to many universities and definitely, SIST and ShanghaiTech are special, there is a respect for each other and a drive to learn that I hope you will keep for all your life, and in particular, I hope you will keep on learning, on pushing yourself, on growing up, and trying new things. This is important in life, and it should not stop now, you must continue.
Also, on a more serious note, because you graduated in Information Science and Technology, I believe that you will have to face a bit more problems in life than the average graduates. Because right now IST creates the best gadgets, the best tools to improve people's lives, but it is also creating a lot of societal issues. You all know about, for instance, social networks which are fantastic for families to communicate even if they are far away, this is a dramatic change compared to even 20 years ago; but you also know that the same social networks make it very easy to propagate misinformation globally, and at the speed of light, literally. And this is creating social effects at a global scale. Same thing for AI in the context of video manipulation for instance, you know that it will impact our society in the years to come. So you will hopefully remember your SIST education, and you'll be able to use your skills, your intelligence, and your integrity that you acquired here, to help solve these issues for the greater good of everybody, not only for you, but for the next generation as well. I think it is an important job that you will have to confront, to ensure that machines and algorithms that we create do not end up ruining our lives. Since Jingyi used a French quotation in his speech, let me try to use a Chinese saying in mine: xiaodong bu bu, dadong chi ku. Just fix these issues before they get too big. I guess what I am trying to say is: you are the people in charge, you are the new generation who can act on our society, and I know you are very well equipped to deal with this duty, so I am quite confident that the future is bright, but it is your turn to shine now.
As a final word, I have been on this campus for almost a year now, and throughout these months here, I encountered a lot of people, I had a lot of interaction with students, admins, professors, and even friends and family members, and I want to thank all of them. I had a fantastic time here. Even when I was stuck, literally stuck in China because I could not travel away, I never felt scared or depressed, there was always people around inquiring about my well-being, and it made me feel very much part of this ShanghaiTech family. I want you to know that this was very much appreciated, and I know that this sort of ``family spirit'' does not happen just by chance, I know it was basically engineered all the way from the top, Jingyi is partially responsible (if not entirely responsible) for it, it is also cultivated and improved upon by everybody else, all the way from the professors, the admins, and you the students as well. I hope the future generations of SISTors will keep this spirit alive. I was extremely lucky to share this SIST environment with you for almost a year, and from the bottom of my hear, I want to thank everybody that I interacted with.
Now, for today's graduates, congratulations, you did a great job, and please go and enjoy your well-earned degree, and like Laurent said, make us proud in the future.