The University of Macau (UM) today (19 June) held the Congregation 2021. Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Ao Ieong U, representing the chief executive and UM chancellor at this year’s ceremony, expressed hope that the university would continue to produce outstanding research results and nurture talent who love China and Macao to facilitate moderate economic diversification of Macao.
Ao Ieong U officiated at the ceremony in the company of UM University Council Chair Lam Kam Seng, UM Rector Yonghua Song, and Vice Rectors Michael Hui, Rui Martins, Ge Wei, and Billy So. Representatives of the University Assembly, University Council, and Senate, as well as government officials, prominent members of the community, UM faculty and staff, and student representatives also witnessed the ceremony. Companions of graduates attending the ceremony watched the live streaming of the event at three locations on campus, while graduates and their families and friends who were unable to attend the ceremony in person participated in the event online.
In her speech, Ao Ieong U said: ‘The SAR government attaches great importance to the development of higher education. At the end of last year, the Medium and Long Term Outline Development Plan for Macao Higher Education (2021-2030) was officially announced, setting the objectives and directions for the overall development of higher education in Macao in the next decade. By adequately expanding the student body, promoting academia-industry collaboration, as well as broadening and deepening external co-operation, among other measures, the continuous improvement of Macao’s higher education will be ensured.’ She added that UM, as a high-level local higher education institution committed to research, is striving to meet the needs of Macao’s socio-economic development by optimising its curriculum and teaching, promoting academia-industry collaboration, and actively participating in collaborative projects of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. She also expressed hope that UM would continue to produce outstanding research results and nurture talent who love China and Macao to facilitate moderate economic diversification of Macao.
In his speech, Rector Song said: ‘The year 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the University of Macau. Therefore, graduating in this year is of special significance. Even though we have not yet fully recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, things are moving in a good direction. Before its return to the motherland, Macao found itself in an economic depression with poor law and order. Graduating in that era, our alumni were faced with a future full of challenges and uncertainties. However, with a positive attitude and a strong will, they have made it to where they are today through unremitting hard work and struggle. Some of them have become important figures in their fields and pillars of the society. Some have also been recognised by the society and decorated by the SAR government for their outstanding contributions and achievements. They are all role models for us.’ Rector Song also shared three ideas with the fresh graduates to encourage them to press ahead fearlessly, aim high with the feet firmly on the ground, and seize opportunities.
Wan Yingjia, representative of this year’s graduates, said in her speech: ‘I hold sincere gratitude towards our faculties and residential colleges that provided us with endless opportunities for development and achievements, including exchange programmes, research internships, workshops, and so on.’ She added that she would never forget the valuable opportunities given to her by her alma mater, and thanked her instructors for their patience and guidance. According to Wan, during the Covid-19 outbreak last year, she was in the middle of an exchange trip in the United States and had to lock herself in the dorm room to stay safe. ‘It was the long-distance calls from parents and emails from our faculties and the Honours College office offering support that strengthened my sense of security, knowing that they are always there to back me up no matter what,’ she said.
This year, more than 1,500 students of bachelor’s degree programmes, from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Business Administration, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Science and Technology, and Faculty of Social Sciences, received their graduation certificates. Among these students, 117 have completed the Honours Programme offered by the Honours College.
In addition, the UM National Flag Team held a flag-raising ceremony at 8:00am on the day of the graduation ceremony in the Lotus Square to convey good wishes to all fresh graduates. The ceremony was attended by representatives of graduates from all residential colleges as well as their families and friends.