Duke Kunshan University Welcomes Its first Undergraduate Class

Duke Kunshan -- a partnership of Duke University, Wuhan University and the city of Kunshan in Jiangsu Province -- has offered graduate-level degrees for the past four years. Today, university leaders and local officials welcomed the Class of 2022 in the university’s first undergraduate convocation. 

Tuesday’s events began with an academic symposium in the morning about the importance of international education. Among those speaking were Ben Wildavsky, executive director of the College Board, and Wuhan University President Dou Xiankang. The afternoon’s convocation was designed to be colorful, meaningful and fun, and included performances, speeches by officials, faculty and students, and the unveiling of the school’s mascot.

Also attending was Duke President Emeritus Richard H. Brodhead, who was instrumental in the creation of Duke Kunshan. “Duke Kunshan University has been created through a partnership that has spanned two cultures and 8,000 miles,” Brodhead said. “The partnership has worked because the contributors share an essential attribute, a commitment to plan for the long term.  … [E]ducation alone gives people the means to live up to their full potential, and so to bring maximum creativity and wisdom to the future world.”

Initial projections called for the university’s first undergraduate class to be 225, but better-than-expected success in recruiting talented international students increased the class to 266: 175 students from the China mainland, 10 from Taiwan and 81 international students. Reaching this milestone represents years of planning and collaboration both in China and Durham, officials said.

All totaled, 27 countries are represented in the Class of 2022, including 39 students from the United States. The class was completed in July, following a matching process that placed Chinese students who took the Gaokao college entrance exam with universities in China.

Teaching the undergraduates are 22 new faculty hired from an initial pool of 1,300 applicants from around the world. The faculty was directly involved in the creation of an interdisciplinary curriculum designed to address real-world issues from a blend of academic perspectives.

Among the dignitaries also attending Tuesday’s ceremony were Dou, the Wuhan University president, and Zhou Xudong, the acting mayor of Kunshan.

Added Zhou, the acting mayor, “In the future, Kunshan will build a national first-class industrial science and technology innovation center with international influence in which Duke Kunshan University will play an important role as the core area.”

Future plans call for more than doubling the size of the campus, increasing the class size to 500 students and employing 120 faculty.


The article is an excerpt from https://dukekunshan.edu.cn/en/news/arrival-class-of-2022

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