Commencement 2019 Speeches

Image removed.


On May 30, 270 graduating seniors from the Class of 2019 received their bachelor’s degrees from NYU and NYU Shanghai diplomas at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. Below are highlights from some of the speeches given at this year’s ceremony.




“Today marks the dreaded yet much anticipated end of your four years at NYU Shanghai, at the same time as it marks the dreaded yet much anticipated beginning of the next phase of your life. Mao and Keats, those two seeming opposites, understood the joy and the sadness you feel today and that we feel with you, and they will go with you as we will wherever you are and whatever you do. Congratulations, Class of 2019!”


- Provost Joanna Waley Cohen


Read the full speech


Yu Lizhong


“Graduates, think back to 4 years ago, do you still remember my best wishes for you on your opening ceremony? Here I would like to repeat my words at that time: I hope all of you have a wonderful dream, to make every effort for your dreams and to connect your own dream with the dream of human beings and the dream of the world...Today, I could say for certain that you are now having a beautiful dream and you will make every effort for your dream. And what I would expect more from you is that you could connect your “dream” with the “dream of human beings” and the “dream” of the world. By doing so, you will make your own dream more meaningful and influential.”


- Chancellor Yu Lizhong


Read the full speech




“Keep visiting other countries, at least once every two years. Keep reading tons of books, at least six each year, regardless of whether they are fiction or nonfiction, biography or fantasy. Keep on tasting the widest variety of experiences you can. Protect time for yourself to feel bored, to do things you are bad at, to do things that have no value for your resume...May you continue to travel frequently beyond the places that are comfortable and familiar, so that your appreciation for the miraculous diversity of life grows ever stronger. And may your steps lead you often back to Shanghai. Back to Pudong. For you will always be members of the NYU Shanghai family. And even after we have moved our campus to Qiantan, we will always be happy to welcome you home.”


- Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Lehman

Read the full speech




“We are no longer afraid to communicate with individuals from other countries, even if we are just speaking simple Czech or Spanish aided by gestures. We are from countries all over the world, and we are bound for unexplored lands around the world....I hope that in the days to come, when we look back on these four years, we will forget about the tiring schoolwork, the always crowded shuttle buses, and long queues for the hallal line during lunch. But instead, we will still remember the violet lights shining on the Century Avenue over the long nights we spent in the academic building, the laughter we shared at the BBQ stand and grilled fish restaurant outside the Jinqiao dormitories, and all of our classmates, friends, professors and staff who have supported and accompanied these last four years.”

- Qu Jiayun ’19, Student Speaker

Read the full speech


Image removed.


“We students are the evidence that engagement is worthwhile. We students navigate languages and worlds guided by our teachers of all kinds: 三人行,必有我师焉...We are bound to others. But as young adults, we must also know and face ourselves. Anthony Appiah reminds us: ‘Your community shapes you; you help shape others; you help shape yourself'... In this glowing city here today, I propose an ideal for us young graduates: to find a golden mean between the individual and the collective; to carve for and out of ourselves a beautiful piece of jade, and to take the interpersonal connections of NYU Shanghai and let them guide us in becoming lifelong learners for ourselves, our nations, and the world.”


- Anthony Comeau ’19, Student Speaker

Read the full speech


Peggy Yu


“There is an English expression that says ‘Youth is wasted on the young.’ But in my mind, youth is meant to be wasted by the young, so go ahead and waste your youth on meaningful things. Spend time wandering around, reading, observing, accumulating knowledge, and capabilities. Allow yourself to be confused and allow yourself to make mistakes.”


- Peggy Yu Yu, Commencement Speaker


Read the full speech