100 Years On, Glory to Continue Speech at the 2017 Commencement Ceremony



President Cao Xuetao is delivering a speech at the 2017 Commencement Ceremony.


Good morning, dear students, parents, the faculty and distinguished guests!


In the morning at the height of the summer, we gather here to witness the moment of glory that marks the fulfillment of academic study of the 2017 class graduates. I would like to, on behalf of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMC) & Peking Union Medical College (PUMC), extend warm congratulations to all the 2017 class graduates who have fulfilled their study, express sincere gratitude to the devoted faculty and cordial greetings to their families and relatives who pin high expectations on and provide unfailing support for them. 

This year marks the 100th founding anniversary of PUMC. The entry of excellent graduates at the very beginning of the commencement ceremony reminds us of the thrilling journey PUMC has gone through over the past century. As Western learning was spreading to the East 100 years ago, a group of medical educationists from North America came to establish the PUMC with their ideal for medical education reform and the most up-to-date education philosophy at that time. They wished to establish a world-class hospital comparable to those in Europe and America and to train top-notch medical talents for China.

They have succeeded. In 1924 the first graduating class included only three eight-year majors of clinical medicine and a graduate major in nursing; the first 20 batches of graduates from PUMC totaled only 484. Their contributions to and significant impact upon Chinese modern medical science glitter in the monument of history. Represented by the big names like Lin Qiaozhi devoted to obstetrics and gynecology and Wu Jieping to urology, the PUMC graduates have exerted profound impact upon the development of China’s modern medical science.  

For the past century, PUMC has been carrying forward and building on its fine tradition. All PUMC people from the founders (all established professors in neat suits from North America) through the first batch of graduates (talents in their prime) to the white-gown medical personnel in various posts of the 1950s and 1960s entertain ideals and work in a down-to-earth manner; whether they are dressed in a radiant or plain way and whether they hold high-ranking positions or work in the frontline at the border area, they are ready to make breakthroughs and shoulder responsibilities. 

China is in a great era. The extent to which innovation drives growth, the scope of opening-up and all people’s concern for health were never seen over the past century. Meanwhile, the complicated social environment and the inadequate medical and healthcare system often cause us perplexities. However, looking back upon the past century, PUMC prides itself on the fine tradition of facing up to instead of feeling daunted by difficulties, and acting as a pioneer to blaze a path by overcoming all obstacles to deliver medical miracles. The elder generation of PUMC people surmounted untold hardships and rose thrice after extraordinary ordeals to reclaim the leading position in China’s medical community and created miracles in the world medical education history. Such a dauntless spirit inspires all PUMC fellows to forge ahead in their new work posts.



Since its inauguration 100 year ago, PUMC has turned out 2,1693 full-time graduates, including 2,986 eight-year majors of clinical medicine, 1,531 undergraduates of nursing and 15,537 postgraduates. The 1,422 graduates of the year, each of you has the glory and dream of PUMC with you, and you are expected to carry foreword the philosophy and mission of “offering people humanistic concern with your knowledge of medical science”. At this moment, I would like to say thank you all! Thank you for choosing, trusting and understanding PUMC and having spent three, four, five or even eight years of your best time to witness and jointly contribute to the growth of your alma mater. You have come here as you stood out in the round after round of competitive examinations. Following your assiduous study and rigorous training in clinical medicine and scientific research at PUMC, you will soon go to working posts. Your knowledge and competence are more than enough to help you cope with the upcoming brand new challenges. As PUMC President, I don’t doubt your prominence in the slightest. But in the complex world of today, can you emulate the elder generation of PUMC people to ceaselessly pursue excellence and lead innovation? As you teacher, I would like to share with you three points on the special occasion of the 100th birthday of PUMC.

First, always entertain the feeling of patriotism. The outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941 forced PUMC to suspend. However, Nie Yuchan, a graduate of the 1927 class who had transferred from the major of medicine to nursing and later worked as the first Chinese director of PUMC Nursing School, led the faculty and students to traverse thousands of miles in extremely difficult circumstances. With amazing perseverance, daring and resolution, he presided over the reconstruction of PUMC Nursing School in Chengdu to train a large number of nurses urgently needed by the war-torn country. It can be said that in face of the utmost challenges posed by the war, PUMC dared to fight against all the odds to defend the country with medical knowledge. Whether in the war to resist the US aggression and aid Korea, or in the combat against SARS and Ebola as well as in the efforts to help Xinjiang and Tibet, PUMC people with their actions manifested their commitment to the country and to their career and set example for all the medical personnel. Dear students, wherever you go, please always entertain the feeling of patriotism. Always remember that you are outstanding children of the Chinese nation and the pride of your motherland and your alma mater.

Second, always have the strength of character as a scholar. Prof. He Guanqing, a PUMC graduate of the 1937 class and one of pioneers and founders of epidemiology in China, endured enormous pressure with regard to the dysentery phage vaccine introduced with foreign aid. In 1956 he proved it wrong to use phage vaccine to prevent dysentery with the double-blind method, the first ever application of the method in China. Prof. He Guanqing stuck to adopting a justifiable way to make facts-based decisions, with no regard for personal gains and losses. He embodies PUMC people’s distinctive character of upholding truth, seeking truth from facts, defying authorities, daring to speak the truth, keeping fraud at bay and pursuing excellence in a meticulous way. Dear students, whichever job you will engage in, please always have the strength of character! In face of the shams and temptations in today’s world, please remember your diligent study for so many years and struggle day and night in the laboratory and the ward is meant to make you into a PUMC fellow who is committed to science, eager to seek truth and ready to make breakthroughs.

Third, always deliver on your promise as a doctor. In this regard, many of the elder PUMC people set us good examples. “As if I’m on the brink of a deep gulf or walking on thin ice” is what Zhang Xiaoqian often said. Lin Qiaozhi, a 1929-class PUMC graduate, said, “The first cry of the newborn is what I most love to hear”. Former president of PUMC Huang Jiasi, a 1933-class graduate, always had a patient’s portrait hung at his bedside. In his spare time, he would gaze at the portrait and get lost in thought. Why the masses put so much trust in PUMC? It is all because the PUMC people stick to holding the patients in the highest regard, and take it as their duty to treat and help the sick. That is the original aspiration of the medical personnel and the best embodiment of PUMC spirit. Dear students, whatever post or position you are going to hold, please remember your solemn oath – Health Related, Life Entrusted – made when you were just admitted to PUMC to build on the one-century legend of PUMC with benevolence.

Time flows by quietly. The one-century old PUMC radiates splendor as a top-notch medical institution. Dear students, starting from the moment of your leaving the college, the PUMC tradition and the foundation built by the preceding generations of PUMC people are handed over to you, which I’m convinced will flourish with your efforts.  

Dear students, alumni from home and abroad, on the 60th founding anniversary of CAMC, General Secretary Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message, encouraging us to build CAMC into the core base supporting the China’s medical science innovation system. This September 22 we will hold the PUMC Centennial Commemoration Conference in Beijing. The legend of PUMC in the next century waits all of us alumni to jointly create. I would like to take this opportunity to invite, on behalf of PUMC, you to go back to your alma mater, to talk about the legend of PUMC over the past century and to depict the blueprint for its next century.

Finally, wish you all the success!

Thank you!