Today’s Historical Text is a news item from the English-language news in China. The article is about the graduation exercises at Tsinghua University in June of 1915. A note: about 50 non-associated people from Peking attended this graduation, just because they were interested in Tsinghua as a school . . . something completely unheard of at a modern graduation from a US university!
Tsing Hua College Commencement
Forty-one students who graduated from the Tsing Hua College last Saturday in the presence of a large assemblage of Chinese and foreign guests will be sent abroad by the Chinese Government this summer for the further prosecution of their studies in American colleges and universities, their expenses being paid from the portion of the Boxer indemnity returned by the United States Government. Forty-five students of the preparatory department have successfully passed their examinations and been admitted to the High School. After undertaking a four years course, they will likewise be sent abroad to secure higher education.
This was the third annual commencement of the Tsing Hua College, which, during its comparatively short existence, has already supplied a large portion of the eight hundred or more Chinese students studying in America. It may be interesting to mention that one of the Tsing Hua students now in the United States has invented a Chinese typewriter, which may well be described as a great achievement. The establishment of this useful institution was made possible by the generosity of the American Government in returning a part of the Boxer indemnity, which generosity will ever be remembered by every intelligent Chinese with gratitude.
The Tsing Hua College is a typical American institution; its buildings, its scientific laboratories, its spacious and beautiful campus, its well-paved road, its advanced curriculum, its efficient management and the democratic spirit of its students strike visitors as such. It behoves [sic] all the Chinese institutions of learning to emulate these good qualities if it be within their means and power.
The speakers at the third annual commencement exercises of the Tsing Hua College were Dr. Charles D. Tenney, the first Chinese Secretary of the U. S. Legation, Mr. Hu Jen-Yuan, President of the Government University of Peking, Hon. Lou Tseng-tsiang, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Dr. Wellington Koo, who represented Hon. Tsao Ju-ling, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was unable to be present on account of his attendance at an important meeting held up in the President’s Office. About fifty Peking residents including a number of ladies, who are greatly interested in the growth of the school, attended the graduation exercises at the invitation of President Tsur Ye-Tsung.
President Tsur opened the exercises by welcoming the guests and briefly reviewing the important college events for the past ear. He said that although the Tsing Hua College did not make signal progress, it did not retrogrede [sic]. The students, however, made a better record in scholarship in the last year than in previous years, and likewise they conducted themselves far much better in this semister [sic]. Then he announced, evidently with a great amount of satisfaction and pride, that a Tsing Hua student studying in an American college had invented a typewriter which was duly patented at Washington, D. C. In conclusion he paid a high tribute to the promoters of the Tsing Hua College for the success and achievement of its students. He made special mention of Hon. Chow Tez-chi, now Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, the late Tong Kai-son, Mr. Tsur’s predecessor, and Mr. Lou Tseng-tsiang, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who have done not a little service in making the institution as it is now.
With a few appropriate remarks, President Tsur introduced the principal speaker, Dr. Tenney, the first Chinese Secretary of the American Legation, who was former President of the Peiyang University, and who is a great Chinese scholar, doing much in the educational field in China. On account of lack of space Dr. Tenney’s speech extending about three columns is held over to the next issue.
The next speaker was Mr. Hu Jen-yuan, President of the Government University of Peking. He referred to his own experience as a student in England, and hoped that the students who he addressed would aim at higher purposes and should render their service to the Republic upon their return.
He was followed by Hon. Lou Tseng-tsiang, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who said that he wished to present two sentences to the students, namely, “Do Not Forget Your Country. Do Not Forget Your Parents.” He explained that when he was about to go abroad twenty years ago, he was resolved to remember for ever and ponder over these two sentences from time to time and carry this beautiful sentiment into practice whenever the opportunity offered itself. He dared not boast of his fulfilling his wishes as expressed in the sentences, but he was striving to do his very best with this motto as his object.
The next speaker was Dr. Wellington Koo, who represented the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs. He said that it was the wish of the Vice-Minister that in their pursuance of higher education you gentlemen (referring to the graduating class) should take good care of your health, without which you cannot expect to render service to your country and humanity in general. In conclusion he hoped that they would prove themselves worthy of the confidence reposed in them by their well-wishers.
Then the diplomas and certificates were presented and prizes awarded to the best students. Refreshments served in the Yamen concluded this interesting event.