Just at the juncture when Chinese and western civilizations clashed, National Tsing Hua University was born. During the last century, NTHU has established a glorious tradition of persistently pursuing knowledge, meticulously nurturing youth and strongly devoting to enrich our society in particular and humanity in general. To these ends, we developed comprehensive academic programs ranging from arts, economics, literature, and politics to various disciplines in natural sciences and engineering. Although over the years NTHU had encountered enormous challenges, it never waivers in its education mission, and adheres faithfully to the University Motto---constantly strengthen and cultivate ourselves---. With that, we now have such a proud legacy.
Recently, I encountered a medical technician during a routine physical examination. When this medical technician learned that I am a faculty member of National Tsing Hua University, he graciously and firmly said that: "I want to thank Tsing Hua for fostering a large cadre of truly talented people to benefit society." Such words deeply touched my soul. It made me feel proud as a member of this Tsing Hua family where all faculty members' professional goal is to mode our students to be pillars of society.
During the past two decades, Taiwan had noticeably increased its investment in higher education and witnessed a significant growth of the quantity and quality of its universities. NTHU, under the leadership of my predecessors and with the collective efforts of all faculty and students, has excelled in cultivating talents as well as upgrading our research programs. The fact that we have been able to move ahead and place ourselves at the forefront of all universities regionally and internationally is acclaimed. In the words of our eternal President Mei Yi-Chi: "the greatness of a university emerges not from its magnificent buildings, but from its academic giants." With this as a yardstick to measure our current status, I am confident that NTHU is rapidly approaching the "greatness" definition of President Mei. As an outstanding Asian university in the 21st century, we are in the right place to establish a new mindset of globalization; and at the right moment to contribute to the development of this unprecedented venue.
As we look forward, the current domestic political and economic environment may not appear to be optimum. At the same time, we are also cognizant of the intensification of education and industrial competition in a global environment. The road ahead of us will be challenging. To ensure that we can continue to move boldly forward, we need to extract ourselves out of our comfort zone, we must be ready to weather storms and high water. Our ancient sage, Mencius once said: "a country without foreign threat is a country likely to perish!" The anticipated challenges should be taken as an opportunity for us to re-examine ourselves and to ask: are we ready and well equipped mentally and operationally to confront them? The lyrics of a famous song, Climbing the Mountain, "trying hard, trying hard and trying harder, I run uphill! I didn't stop to look back, I didn't stop to dry my perspiration; I just kept running. Despite of the fact that there seemed to be no more path; ailanthus ripped my sleeves; thorns punctured my skin; I opened a new path and run up to the top." As your new president, I am ready to work hard and collectively with the entire NTHU community to conquer this mountain, to seek new paths so that together we can let this great university reach a new height.
While Tsing Hua does have magnificent buildings and academic paragons, we also have great love. The university loves to inspire and educate students; loves to seek truth and uphold social justice. Carrying great love, formidable challenges will not discourage us; chaos will not bewilder us.
National Tsing Hua University is dedicated to provide the best education to all students who enter its gate. One of our students reminisced that during his orientation session, a professor solemnly said to him, "do not consider that you are different from others; all of you are as talented and deserving; do not think you are the same as others; you are unique and special and will be nurtured accordingly." It is this educational philosophy i.e., equal educational opportunity for all and mentoring each student by cultivating his/her unique strength to the utmost that we carry out our educational programs. We place a great emphasis on the essence of education and not on trivia. We earnestly purse knowledge and diligently apply such knowledge for the betterment of humanity. We yearn the broader and highest horizon and not the immediate.
These are not only what I expect from my colleagues, it is also what is expected from me. I shall give my assurance to you that I would also work hard with all to ensure more opportunities and challenges will be bestowed to our students. As Robert F. Kennedy once said, "There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?" As a prestigious university with a long and monumental history, NTHU is well prepared and determined to meet such challenges that the new era will bring.
Military commanders of an army could vanish, but not the spirit. University presidents come and go, but universal education ideals of a university shall forever linger on. The road ahead of us might be thorny, but teaching and learning shall never cease. As the new president, I pledge to you that I will do my utmost to exalt university ideals and to encourage and to support teaching and learning.
Thank you for your affirmation of Tsing Hua and for the guidance as well as long term support that you have so graciously rendered.