Hello, the New Suda: A New Year Message from Soochow University

Seasons rotate and creations regenerate. We brave the winterly cruelty for the coming vernal vitality. On behalf of Soochow university, we hereby extend our sincere greetings and best wishes to all Suda-ers globally—faculty and staff, students, and alumni—and personages from all walks of life who are concerned with and facilitate the university’s development.

It is a “hard” farewell to bid. The year 2020 witnessed a precipitate COVID-19 epidemic, the grim and entangling international situation, and the daunting mission of development, but we were undaunted by these daunting challenges. They enkindled our will to fight and strengthened our confidence to triumph. This year marked the 120th anniversary of Soochow University. Looking back on the university’s epic development and refining its legacy for the new era, we feel honored and have a responsibility that comes with such honor. As we start afresh with a zero-based mindset, we are determined to build a new Suda, a university of potency, aspiration, and accountability. It has been a year that seems never to come to an end and yet has ended so soon. This year’s memory is perpetuated by the heroism of many, and we are empowered by their warmth.

Our 2020 was tough, but we were tougher.

The coronavirus epidemic in late 2019 and early 2020 impacted the entire world and almost every individual. The continuous quarantine, city lockdown, and airline closure challenged everyone’s ability to cope and endure. So many life experiences such as panic, anxiety, parting, and anguish were condensed into this short year. Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with President Xi Jinping at its core, the 1.4 billion Chinese people of the same will launched a strong offensive to contain the epidemic. In this ordeal, brave and resilient, we promptly got institutionally organized, made plans, issued notices, and fortified our provisions and services. As a result, we managed to build a “great wall” of our own and reported zero case tested positive. The epidemic did not deter our pursuit of perfection; instead, it made us to treasure what matters to us even more. Teachers then as “podcasters” prepared highly efficient and heart-warming cloud-based lessons, and students never halted in their learning. Like their peers across the country, our faculty and students delivered massive online education.

Our 2020 witnessed our intrepidity to win.

This year saw our adaptation to the new norm of two prongs, one being epidemic prevention and the other development. We dashed from the word go to win the race against time. We revved up by doing more with less. This dash, fast but sure, paid off. In 2020, our students gained tremendously. They became more disciplined and responsible in epidemic combat, and more confident and cooperative in entrepreneurship. Their seed of youth gained extra vitality as they worked hard in the classroom and lab or on the marathon track. 12,733 new students joined the Soochow University community. Over 1,500 students made their mark in competitions at the provincial level and above; 10,793 students completed their studies and rushed to the next “battlefield” where they were needed most. Our faculty accomplished enormously. Industrious and determined, our great minds and extraordinary souls targeted bottleneck technologies and areas and offered solutions. We launched the “Belt and Road” joint laboratory. The Mars surface magnetic field detector the development of which we were involved was applied in the Tianwen-1 mission. These achievements testify to our increased strength in undertaking major national scientific and technological research projects. 3 of our faculty members were elected academicians of developed countries, 17 selected as highly cited researchers globally, and many of them won highly visible awards and commendations such as the National Award for Scientific and Technological Advancement. In 2020, the university achieved tremendously as well. It is committed to the development of capable and virtuous individuals by implementing the plan of first-class undergraduate education. It held the conference on graduate education. It initiated the three-in-one bachelor-master-doctorate program. It increased its investment in developing preeminent students. It accelerated the “Soochow University on the Cloud” project, organized the “Dialogue on Suzhou”, re-institutionalized Wenzheng College, opened the university affiliated Dushu Lake Hospital, and participated in research in the Gusu Laboratory. Over the year, we have delivered effective results in the concerted university-city development and gained a reputation in delivering assistance in education, medical care, public welfare, and industrial development, thus improving the well-being of the recipient areas. Our enormous effort in our duties, industry, sweat, determination, and perseverance bear witness to the university’s long-established and yet revitalized culture.

Our 2020 saw warmth and strength.

In the highly volatile 2020, warmth of humanity has never changed. That warmth has become part of the inspiring “Suda strength” and it keeps us a long way. The Suda-ers did their due part in safeguarding our campus and our country in their own way. 204 medical staff of our 12 affiliated hospitals delivering on-site services in the virus-stricken Hubei risked their own lives to save the lives of others. Due to their heroism, 9 of them won national commendations and 104 of them provincial and ministerial awards. Our student volunteers provided anti-epidemic notices and services in 7 languages, which greatly helped those in need. Our students also became private tutors helping those in the middle of preparing for gaokao. We delivered our healthcare packages to foreign institutions of higher education and our alumni abroad. In return, many charitable deeds and generosities transcended geographical and cultural boundaries and came our way. This year, hundreds of thousands of members of the Soochow University community celebrated the university’s 120th birthday. To commemorate the event, Tsung-Dao Lee, a Nobel prize winner, already 94 years old, presented us an embodied video, showing his calligraphic script, reading, “Six score years is past, but the glory will last.” Official leaders, sister universities, and our friends sent us greetings and blessings, partaking of our glory and joy. These kindnesses and generosities are heart-warming and inspiring.

The long river of time never stops. We are entering into 2021. We have the courage, confidence, and strength to overcome any difficulties arising. If the challenge is daunting, let us challenge ourselves to the utmost and then triumph.

Our upcoming 2021 means a new mission to forge ahead.

In the new year, we will usher in the one hundredth birthday of the CPC as well as a new stage of comprehensive national modernization. The university will also begin a new journey of development. It will weave itself into the national tapestry of development in the new era. Staying alert and aiming high, it will do its due share to pay tribute to the era through its universal care, quest of truth and virtue, and development of full-grown man.

Our 2021 will gauge our new endeavors.

In the new year, we will never slacken in our endeavor to build the university into a widely recognized and respected research university of international visibility. We will quicken up our “double first-class” efforts by further liberating our mind, blazing new trails, and uprooting our anxiety caused by the “pace-first” mentality. Daring to explore the unexplored, we wish to become a fertile birthplace for top-notch personnel, an incubator for scientific and technological innovation, a source of sparks of thought, an inclusive hub where civilizations meet, and a leader in university remolding. We will spare no effort to build a new Soochow University as you are determined to become a new you in the new year.

As we ring in the new, we are aware that we still have a long way to go and that we must endeavor as always. We wish that all Suda-ers will bear in mind where we were, where we are, and where we will be. We wish that we move forward as our motherland does in the new era. We wish everyone good health, wealth, and happiness in the new year ahead! We wish our country and our people splendor, prosperity, and everlasting peace.

Jiang Yong, CPC Secretary, Soochow University Branch

Xiong Sidong, President, Soochow University

December 31, 2020