First Graduating Class at NYU Shanghai


Casey Kwon

NYU’s campus in Shanghai, China, founded in 2013. (Photo by Casey Kwon)

Adriana Tapia, Staff Writer

NYU Shanghai will host its inaugural Commencement Ceremony for the site’s first graduating class on Sunday, May 28 at the Concert Hall of the Shanghai Oriental Art Center, according to NYUSH’s website.

The event will officially confirm NYUSH as the third degree-granting campus in the NYU global network, following the Abu Dhabi and New York campuses. The graduating class of 300 students first enrolled at the Shanghai campus in 2013, with half admitted from Chinese schools and the other half from the rest of the world.

NYU and East China Normal University jointly established NYUSH, which was then recognized by the Chinese government, making it the first Sino-American joint university. Consequently, graduates will receive both an NYU degree and a Chinese diploma.

The Class of 2017 will also be the first to complete NYUSH’s liberal arts education program in a foreign cultural context. In an interview with The Washington Post, Vice Chancellor of NYU Shanghai Jeffrey S. Lehman said that the university frequently receives visitors from other Chinese universities who wish to learn about their educational method.

Lehman said to WSN that emotions are bittersweet in the NYUSH community upon seeing its first graduating class.

“On the one hand, we are thrilled to see these remarkable students head out to change the world,” Lehman said. “On the other hand, we are bidding farewell to friends who worked with us to create something unique and special.”

To celebrate, Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl TV Tower will light violet in honor of the first graduating class, according to NYU Shanghai Senior Counsel Thomas Bruce. He also said that a 32-panel exhibition featuring NYU Shanghai will be on display in the tower’s visitor center for 10 days before graduation day.

“From the making of the torch and the banners to the planning of the procession and much more, the ceremony is being carefully planned with NYU traditions in mind and distinctive Chinese elements to honor our hosts,” Bruce said. “Surrounded by honored guests, official visitors, proud parents, friends and NYU colleagues, the NYU Shanghai community will come together to celebrate reaching this historic milestone.”

Roman Chen, one of the students in the graduating class, said that it feels unreal that he is graduating in two months.

“I still remember freshman year when we lived back in ECNU, and the school was just 300 of us,” Chen said. “Now the school is so big and it feels strange not to know everyone. Over the four years, I’ve grown so much in this supportive community.”

Chen said that his time at NYUSH has changed him in many positive ways, and it has made him realize how closely knitted the world is.

“The friends I made here continually inspire me to be a citizen of the world,” Chen said.

Lehman also said that he has positive feelings toward the NYU community members who decided to attend this relatively new campus.

“It takes courage to invest one’s time and energy in a risky start-up, and I have been inspired by how many courageous people chose to believe in NYU Shanghai,” Lehman said.

Email Adriana Tapia at [email protected].