PECIAL CONFERRAL CEREMONY – NANKAI UNIVERSITY, TIANJIN, CHINA
Mr. Ralph B. Young, University of Alberta Chancellor
My name is Ralph Young. I am the Chancellor of the University of Alberta and on behalf of our university and our esteemed colleagues from post-secondary institutional partners in China – who celebrated the 96th anniversary of Nankai University only yesterday- I am honoured to welcome you all to this special University of Alberta honorary degree conferral ceremony which is part of the Celebration of 70th Anniversary of Teaching for Professor Chia-Ying Chao Yeh.
This is a very special occasion and we are grateful for the presence of distinguished guests from government, professors and alumni from various academ ies, and colleagues from artistic, diplomatic and business communities near and far.
Joining the celebration here this morning is the Chair Emeritus of our University of Alberta Board of Governors, Mr. Douglas Goss, our Vice-President (Research) Dr. Lorne Babiuk and the Director of our University of Alberta China Institute Mr. Gordon Houlden.
We are deeply honoured today to have with us Professor Chia-Ying Chao-Yeh, who has accepted our invitation to receive an honorary doctorate of letters.
A University of Alberta honorary degree is our highest honour, recognizing outstanding role m odels and leaders, and celebrating extraordinary achievements or exemplary
service to society.
Professor Yeh’s creative talents and commitment to education serve as an inspiration to many in China and Canada, and indeed across the international community.
I am equally delighted to welcome….
List all mem bers of the platform party, and include any VIP guests seated at the front of the audience…
• Dr. Gong Ke, President of Nankai University
• Mr. Guy St-Jacques, Canada’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China
I hope you all enjoy the morning.
We will now begin with a presentation by the Nankai University Choir.
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA VICE-PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS
Dr. Lorne A. Babiuk, Vice-President (Research), University of Alberta
Eminent Chancellor Young, Board Chair Emeritus Goss, Honorary Degree Recipient, Professor Chia-Ying Chao-Yeh , Am bassador Saint-Jacques and President Gong, Distinguished platform guests, mem bers of the Academy, and University of Alberta Alumni and family;
On behalf of the faculty, staff and students of the University of Alberta, I am honoured to welcome you to this special honorary degree conferral ceremony.
‘Honour’ is an apt word as that is precisely how I feel today when I see so many distinguished individuals from the Chinese government and academy. Thank you for warmly welcoming us to Nankai University, a great institution that is also celebrating its 96th anniversary. We are honoured to be here to celebrate this anniversary with Nankai, and thank you for accepting our invitation to today’s ceremony.
The University of Alberta is one of Canada’s largest and most respected comprehensive research universities. Home to 18 faculties and schools, we are committed to excellence in scholarship across all disciplines, including the fine arts, medicine, humanities, sciences, agriculture, engineering, business and law.
We are proud to have extensive and longstanding connections with the People’s Republic of China and with institutions such as yours. Together we share a strong spirit of collaboration and discovery that spans nearly all of our academic disciplines.
Such a collaborative spirit fosters curiosity and open-mindedness to learn m ore about the world’s great cultures, a theme that parallels the career and accomplishm ents of Professor Yeh.
Thank you, Professor Yeh, for m aking this great day possible.
Honorary degrees are the highest honour the University of Alberta can bestow on individuals to recognize achievements that align with our vision:
to inspire the human spirit through outstanding achievements in learning, discovery and citizenship in a creative comm unity, building one of the world's great universities for the public good.
When it comes to inspiring the human spirit through artistic expression, few individuals can match the accom plishments of Professor Yeh. Today we honour and celebrate her seven decades—im agine that, seven decades—as a master poet and one of the world’s foremost scholars of Chinese poetry and classical literature.
Professor Yeh’s efforts to celebrate classical Chinese poetry can be felt throughout your great nation, starting in high school where--I am told--classical poetry studies have been included in curriculum.
Scholars like Professor Yeh build bridges to our past; they also build bridges across cultures. Bridges that allow us to understand ourselves, to understand, respect and appreciate each other and our place in the global community, for today and in building a bold tomorrow.
The University of Alberta too is a builder—a builder of knowledge, of im agination, of discovery, of achievement.
We are proud to be the home of more students funded by the China Scholarship Council than any other university in the world. We host 3,800 Chinese students—and they form the largest international student cohort studying at our university.
The University of Alberta actively reaches across the globe seeking students and forming partnerships with like-minded institutions, such as yours, so that we can work together to address the world’s greatest challenges.
Together we help improve the well-being, prosperity, health, and safety of people here in China, in Canada and beyond.
Today, as we confer an honorary degree on Professor Chia-Ying Chao-Yeh and welcome her into the University of Alberta family, we celebrate her 70 years of teaching and fostering cultural understanding. And we celebrate the connections between the University of Alberta and Nankai University. In partnership, I know that we will continue to build a brighter future for our two esteemed nations.
PRESENTATION OF PROFESSOR YEH
Mr. Gordon Houlden, Director of China Institute, University of Alberta
Eminent Chancellor Ralph Young, Nankai University President Dr. Gong Ke, Chair Emeritus of the University of Alberta Board of Governors Douglas Goss, Vice-President (Research) Lorne Babiuk and distinguished guests…
On behalf of the Senate of the University of Alberta, it is my privilege as Director of the China Institute of the University of Alberta to present Professor Chia-Ying Chao-Yeh for the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.
One of the most influential scholars and educators of our time in the study of Chinese classical poetry, Professor Yeh has made enduring contributions to creative expression and scholarship in the arts and humanities.
She has trained and inspired generations of students in Canada, China and around the globe. A distinguished Chinese-Canadian who have lived and worked in both countries for decades, she is internationally respected as a beacon that connects cultures and peoples.
Emphasizing the beauty, grace and subtle meaning inherent in lyric poetry, Professor Yeh has advocated for greater incorporation of classical literature in Chinese prim ary and secondary school curricula. In addition to her exploration of Chinese shi and ci poetry in dozens of scholarly books, she has written and published hundreds of her own poems to significant acclaim.
She has also extended the understanding of traditional Chinese cultural works to the West and incorporated western theories in her studies of Chinese poetry.
Professor Yeh’s insightful contributions to higher education range across many institutions, including the Central Research Institute of Culture and History in China, the University of British Columbia, University of Michigan, Harvard University, National Taiwan University, Tamkang University and Fu Jen Catholic University.
Her noble mission to rekindle a love and appreciation of classical poetry in future generations sets a shining example – one that shines brightly both here in China and halfway around the world in our learning community at the University of Alberta in western Canada.
Today we celebrate Professor Yeh’s leadership as a global scholar and citizen. We celebrate her dedication to the arts and humanities. And we celebrate her lifelong commitm ent to teaching.
Eminent Chancellor, with great pride and respect, I present to you…Professor Chia-Ying Chao-Yeh.
In recognition of an internationally renowned scholar and educator for enduring contributions to the study and teaching of Chinese classical literature…
I desire to confer upon you the honorary degree of DOCTOR OF LETTERS and to express the hope that we shall continue to be enriched by your wise counsel for many years to come.
Mr. Ralph B. Young, University of Alberta Chancellor
I would like to close our celebration with some final words of congratulations.
For over one hundred years, the motto of our university has been the pursuit of “Whatsoever Things are True.”
Professor Yeh, today we celebrate this search for truth and meaning – not just in our own hearts and minds but also in our relationships with each other and the world around us.
We celebrate this voyage of discovery so beautifully expressed in your poetry, teaching and scholarship.
Thank you once again for sharing your experience and wisdom with our gathering here today. By accepting this honorary degree you have brought great honour to the University of Alberta.
-- pause for applause --
I am deeply grateful for the privilege of gathering here today at Nankai University, and wish to express sincere appreciation for this opportunity to share this celebration with such an esteem ed partner institution.
Thank you also to the leadership and staff of Nankai University for many im portant contributions to the planning of our celebration, and to the beautiful Nankai University choir for the gift of their m usic.
Thank you to our distinguished speakers, and to the many individuals in China and Alberta who contributed their tim e and talents to the preparations for this ceremony.
And finally, a word of thanks to our guests…
Thank you all for joining us here this morning to honour Professor Yeh. Thank you for your enduring efforts to champion the im portance of education and the arts to our shared future.
On behalf of my colleagues at the University of Alberta and Nankai University, I invite everyone to join us for a celebratory luncheon following this morning’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of teaching for Professor Yeh.
Once again Professor Yeh, my warmest congratulations!