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Tsinghua SEM holds 2023 graduation ceremony


Photo of the Tsinghua SEM 2023 graduation ceremony

On the afternoon of June 25, 2023, the graduation ceremony for the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (Tsinghua SEM) was held at the Tsinghua University Gymnasium. Graduating students from the 2023 cohort, as well as graduates from the classes of 2020 to 2022 who returned for degree conferral, as well as their families and friends attended. Dean BAI Chong-En presided over the graduation ceremony, and Dr. Ya-Qin ZHANG, the chair professor of AI Science at Tsinghua University, dean of the Institute for AI Industry Research at Tsinghua University (AIR), and an academician from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, delivered the commencement speech.

BAI Chong-En presides over the graduation ceremony.

Before the ceremony commenced, the organizers played videos of the school's various academic programs, offering a nostalgic reflection of the students' wonderful times on Tsinghua's campus. Teachers also shared words of advice and well wishes as the students prepared to embark on their new journey in life.

As the ceremony commenced, everyone stood and sang the national anthem of the People's Republic of China. Dean BAI Chong-En welcomed the graduating students, their families, and friends attending the graduation ceremony, and then spoke on the students' graduation status. During the 2022-2023 academic year, a total of 1,615 students graduated from Tsinghua SEM. This includes 248 undergraduates, 52 students with a second bachelor's degree, 106 students with minors, 1,156 master's students (including MBA and EMBA), and 53 doctoral students.

The ceremony continued with the awarding of the prestigious "CHEN Daisun Memorial Scholarship." This esteemed recognition is considered the highest honor bestowed upon undergraduate students at Tsinghua SEM. Its purpose is to recognize graduates who possess exceptional qualities, including a combination of exemplary moral character and academic excellence, significant personal development, outstanding overall attributed, and who reflect Tsinghua University's undergraduate education philosophy. Dean BAI Chong-En announced this year's list of recipients, which includes JING Baiyun from the SEM Class of '84, ZHAO Chun from the SEM Class of '84, and LI Muchen from the SEM Class of '93.

BAI Chong-En presents the "CHEN Daisun Memorial Scholarship" to undergraduate students (left to right: BAI Chong-En, JING Baiyun, ZHAO Chun, LI Muchen).

After the award ceremony, seven students took to the stage to speak: LI Muchen, an undergraduate student; REN Yanyu, a graduate of the minor program; XIAO Minhao, a master's program graduate; PENG Yunlong, a doctoral program graduate; JIANG Hong, an MBA program graduate; Ivan Bose Do Amaral, a dual-degree graduate from the Tsinghua-INSEAD EMBA program; and YU Yu, an EMBA program graduate. They shared their achievements and insights gained during their time at Tsinghua SEM, expressed gratitude for the genuine friendships they formed with their classmates, and asked graduates to continue upholding the spirit of Tsinghua, fulfilling its mission of economic management, remaining true to their original aspirations, striving forward, and embracing an even brighter future.

Graduating students deliver speeches (left to right, top to bottom: LI Muchen, REN Yanyu, XIAO Minhao, PENG Yunlong, JIANG Hong, Ivan Bose Do Amaral, and YU Yu).

The graduation ceremony featured a keynote speech titled “Leading the AI Era,” delivered by Dr. Ya-Qin ZHANG, chair professor of AI Science at Tsinghua University and dean of AIR at Tsinghua University. From September 2014 to October 2019, ZHANG served as the President of Baidu Inc. Prior to his role at Baidu, he worked at Microsoft Corporation for 16 years, holding various positions including corporate vice president, chairman of Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D Group, director and chief scientist of Microsoft Research Asia, corporate vice president of Microsoft Corporation, and chairman of Microsoft China. ZHANG is a world-renowned scientist and entrepreneur in the fields of digital video and artificial intelligence. He holds more than 60 US patents, has published more than 500 academic papers, and authored 11 books. His inventions in image and video compression and transmission technologies have been adopted as international standards and widely applied in areas such as high-definition television, internet video, multimedia retrieval, mobile video, and image databases. ZHANG serves as a member of the Davos World Economic Forum's AI Global Council and is on the Board of Stewardship for the Future of Mobility. Additionally, he serves as the chairman of Apollo Alliance, the world's largest open autonomous driving platform, and is also on the industry board of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). ZHANG became an IEEE Fellow in 1997 at the age of 31, making him the youngest scientist to win this honor in the 100-year history of the organization. In 2004, he was honored to receive the IEEE Industry Pioneer Award. He serves as a director, honorary or visiting professor at more than ten top universities worldwide and holds board positions in four high-tech companies.

Dr. Ya-Qin ZHANG delivers his speech.

In his speech, Dr. Ya-Qin ZHANG shared his personal growth experiences and insights into life, along with his perspectives and reflections on the AI era. ZHANG said he has fearlessly ventured into new fields multiple times, influenced by his family. He emphasized his strong interest in learning and maintaining curiosity about the unknown. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of utilizing his expertise while also treating others well in both work and life. “I consider myself fortunate to have taken each step in sync with the pulse and milestones of the times. Each step has been guided by the voice and calling within my heart,” he said.

Dr. Ya-Qin ZHANG emphasized that after 60 years of development, AI has become the most transformative and revolutionary technological force of our time, profoundly reshaping the physical, digital, and biological aspects of human existence. Recent advancements in AI, such as the foundational models like ChatGPT, have achieved significant milestones. These large-scale models are creating new operating systems that will completely redefine software, hardware, and application ecosystems. They will also reshape industrial structures, business models, and future work methodologies. ZHANG said in the future, machines will replace humans in tasks that involve repetitive or process-oriented intellectual and physical work. Machines will excel at solving problems with well-defined rules, fixed patterns, and standardized answers, surpassing human performance even in examinations. Meanwhile, more creative, imaginative, interesting, and emotionally engaging work will emerge. With proper control and governance, machines and AI will serve as friends, assistants, proxies, and extensions of humanity, he said.

For students about to enter society in the era of AI, ZHANG offered four pieces of advice. First, maintaining curiosity about the world and be a lifelong learner. In the age of AI, in the era of machine learning, while machines are learning, humans must continue learning as well. Secondly, have unique perspectives and viewpoints. In the face of a complex and ever-changing world, uniqueness will become the most valuable asset. Third, keep ethics and humanistic values in mind. Technology itself is neutral, but innovators have missions. Technology is a tool that should serve humanity. Lastly, life is a playground: not a battlefield. Daring to take bold attempts while exploring life, and find the path that suits oneself best.

A photo captures the moment as students pose for pictures at the Tsinghua SEM 2023 graduation ceremony.

After the speech, Dean BAI Chong-En summarized by expressing his belief that students can derive inspiration for contemplating the future from the speech. He also said he hoped they would remember this sense of anticipation. In the face of a world filled with both opportunities and uncertainties, he encouraged students to maintain an attitude of unwavering optimism. He said China will make significant contributions as civilization continues to advance. Dean BAI advised the students to embrace an unconditional spirit of enterprise, carefully assess the situation, and make wise choices regarding their paths. He urged them to continuously move forward in their chosen direction. By dedicating their efforts to the progress of human civilization and the prosperity of the Chinese nation, they will discover joy and lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.

After his speech, the faculty and students in the audience stood to sing the Tsinghua University school anthem, marking the end of the Tsinghua SEM's 2023 graduation ceremony.

Dean BAI Chong-En took individual photos with each graduating student on June 24 and 25.

Before the graduation ceremony, Tsinghua SEM organized a reception in the square at the Lihua Building. Approximately 2,000 graduating students and their families and friends attended. The faculty and students from the school performed singing, dancing, and music to convey their well-wishes for the graduates. The students expressed their heartfelt farewells and shared the memorable and joyful moment with their teachers and families.

People pose for a group photo at the Tsinghua SEM 2023 graduation reception.

Editor: REN Zhongxi