University of Bristol flies the flag in China with inaugural graduation
Press release issued: 22 April 2013
The ceremonial centrepiece of Bristol University has been recreated in China, with over 200 students from across the Asian country celebrating their graduation in style.
An atmosphere of excitement and anticipation accompanied the event, which was held in Beijing to give as many new alumni as possible the opportunity to mark their academic achievements with friends and family, many of whom would not have been able to travel to Bristol.
A giant pixelated image of the Clifton Suspension Bridge formed a striking red and white backdrop to the stage, giving a modern feel to the traditional proceedings while reminding students of Bristol.
The design won plaudits for being one of the first in the UK to incorporate QR codes within the image. Two other iconic Bristol landmarks - the Wills Memorial Building and the Victoria Rooms - were present in the form of four metre tall photo boards.
Excited students donned traditional gowns and caps before being congratulated by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, Professor Eric Thomas, as they crossed the stage at China World hotel.
Professor Thomas, who is also President of Universities UK, said: "Our first graduation in China was a fantastic occasion. The atmosphere was full of excitement and it was brilliant to hear how pleased all our students were that it was being held in Beijing so that their friends and family could share in the celebrations. We hope the event has created even more happy memories of their time at Bristol."
An honorary degree was presented to Professor Yang Wei, of Zhejiang University and newly appointed head of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), during the ceremony in recognition of his services to higher education and engineering research in China.
Man Xun, who achieved a masters in Economics and Finance Management, said: "I really enjoyed my year in Bristol, both the studying and the lifestyle. It's exciting to be part of the first graduation in Beijing. Not only can our families be here, but it's an opportunity to have a reunion with our old friends and lecturers."
A further two events were organised for Shanghai and Beijing, welcoming hundreds of alumni who have studied at the University of Bristol throughout the years.
It’s hoped that both the graduation celebration and alumni receptions will further cement relations between China and the city of Bristol, located in the South West of England.
Dianne Francombe, Chief Executive of the Bristol China Partnership - an organisation which works to cement links between between both places, said: “The University of Bristol's links with Chinese students is not just about education. It is helping to forge links and friendships which are helping both communities.
“Bristol and Chinese businesses will benefit in the future from these bright young minds who have an understanding of both cultures. Having highly-qualified people in China, who know about Bristol, is a fantastic benefit to the city as world trade across the globe becomes easier than ever before through technology.”