This is President Rosenberg’s ninth annual blog chronicling the TUC-FIU partnership, the annual China Commencement and our students in China. This is his third blog post. Here are his first and second blog posts.
Our partnership with the Tianjin University of Commerce extends now 14 years. We could not have imagined then the progress that we are experiencing today. Much of this progress is due to the efforts of our resourceful leadership in the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, starting with former Dean Joe West and extending through former Dean Mike Hampton and now Interim Dean Michael Cheng. FIU faculty both in Miami and Tianjin have been thoughtful and innovative in fitting our program to the needs of the market and the particularities of the regulatory environment.
There has been much patience on both sides—our common goal has always been to provide a quality global educational experience for qualified students that would result in great jobs for our graduates—in China or wherever the world of work took them.
Now throughout China, as in the United States, we can find FIU Chaplin hospitality graduates from the Marriott program. Our goal has always been to “own” the hospitality education space in China. This is happening gradually—our graduation here at TUC is another small step in the right direction. More than 200 students just received their degrees. Nearly half will continue with more education, and maybe one-third of those students will continue at FIU. Our class valedictorian stated during her commencement remarks that her college life was “rich and unforgettable,” in part because of the many student activities in which she participated outside of the formal classroom experience.
TUC President Ge, bedecked in a colorful graduation robe, asked students to cultivate in themselves a “spirit of perseverance and striving and to not forget their hearts or dreams as they continue to progress to become the new era of fighters.” As usual, I asked the graduates to have pride in their degree and to support their alma mater!
The emotional high that students brought into the graduation hall faded to one of contemplation, then sadness and reflection as it began to sink in that a new journey was about to begin for each and every one of the graduating students. But joy returned as they heard the final words—“congratulations,” the recessional music sounded and the students formally graduated.
Graduates then gathered in the steamy, sun-lit outdoor plaza nearby for the group photo that brought us together one last time—the moment now frozen for posterity by the “photo maestro” professional who makes the seating arrangement and shouts out commands to students to adjust themselves— and then smile forever.
Congratulations to our students and to our professional staff and volunteer student ushers for a day well-organized and executed. I am particularly proud of the student ushers who developed their own lapel pin to denote their service and camaraderie. Now on to Qingdao University for the milestone inaugural graduation of students in our program