STL PKU Holds Commencement for 2021 Graduates
On June 20th, STL PKU Celebrated the Class of 2021graduation. This is STL’s first in-person commencement ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 93 graduates received their degrees, including 85 J.D./J.M. students and 8 LL.M. students. The commencement was live broadcasted and watched by hundreds of viewers around the globe.
Liu Xiaochun, the president of the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA) and the invited keynote speaker, reflected on the deep and long-standing collaboration that has existed between STL and SCIA. He reflected that STL has managed to exceed his expectations at the time of its launching 13 years ago and expressed how “as a PKU alumnus, I am so proud of the excellent performance of STL students.”
Dean Philip McConnaughay praised the class of 2021 for achieving great success by finalizing STL’s extremely rigorous and demanding J.D/J.M program commenting that they “are setting new standards of professionalism for the emerging Chinese legal profession.”
Noting that the world had changed so drastically since the Class of 2021 began their journey at STL in 2017, Founding Dean Jeffrey Lehman encouraged everyone to not be discouraged. Instead, he reminded them that they are “now embarking on a very personal quest to craft a life of worth and purpose.” And “make sure you stay alert to new possibilities that will present themselves to you from time to often when you least expect them.”
STL Professor Norman Ho then addressed three important identities that STL graduates share, namely being “a member of a big, great, and historical community of people who care about the law and its place in society,” as well as being in a “customer service profession,” and finally being an “STL alumni”
The graduation also included speeches from J.D/J.M graduate representatives Ni Xiang and Geng Jiawei, and LL.M. graduate representative Chinwekele Udochukwu Alli, all of whom expressed their sincere gratitude to STL professors, faculty, staff and their classmates. Ni Xiang talked about three takeaways from her STL life: “adapt to uncertainties”, “always question” and “take learning as a lifestyle.” Emphasizing a similar message, Geng Jiawei said, “the laws and rules could be constantly changing, but the way we are taught to think will benefit us for our life and allow us to find solutions facing various challenges in the future.”
As the LLM representation, Chinwe shared her experience coming from Nigeria: “I was exposed to the culture and beliefs of people from different countries and I can proudly say that my orientation towards life has changed and of course for the better.” She eloquently ended her speech with a message that celebrated diversity and resilience: “we all had different personal reasons for choosing STL for our LLM program…[and] we all have our different ambitions and dreams, and I urge us to constantly remind ourselves that no matter how difficult the way is, the best is yet to come.”
The next chapter holds exciting new adventures for the STL community, which continues to provide a valuable support network that is there to collaborate with, empower, and guide STL students and alumni along the way.