The adage that “it takes 10 years to grow a tree but 100 years to nurture a person” has never been truer as we commemorate the momentous 10th anniversary of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen (CUHK-Shenzhen), the first comprehensive research university in mainland established by a Hong Kong academic institution. This milestone celebration invites us to reflect on the impressive journey of this dynamic and youthful university, which, in just a decade, has established itself as a formidable institution dedicated to fostering academic excellence for generations to come.

It has not been easy for CUHK-Shenzhen to achieve so much in just ten years. Professor Xu Yangsheng, the Founding President of CUHK-Shenzhen, attributes this success to the guiding principle of “one brand, two campuses”. Inheriting the unique college system from CUHK, CUHK-Shenzhen now houses seven colleges that provide whole-person education nurturing over 10,000 students. For eight consecutive years, CUHK-Shenzhen has maintained the highest admission score based on the national higher education entrance examination among universities in Guangdong province. The University takes immense pride that in four disciplines (including economy and finance, computer science and data science, materials chemistry and biomedical sciences), it meets top international standards in terms of faculty qualifications, research and academic standing.

Now party time is on us, with CUHK-Shenzhen curating a diverse array of events to commemorate its stellar 10-year journey. Noteworthy highlights of the festivities include the launch of a satellite, a mass wedding, a grand ceremony and forum, and an invigorating city walk event.

Satellite launched to mark CUHK-Shenzhen’s 10th anniversary

The celebratory events extended even beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. The CUHK-Shenzhen No.1 satellite, carried by a Long March-2C carrier rocket as part of the Geely-02 group of satellites, was propelled into a low-Earth orbit on 3 February. Equipped with communication, navigation and remote sensing capabilities, it offers satellite data products and services, facilitating international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative while driving the commercialisation, scaling and global development of satellite applications. This milestone underlines the University’s unwavering commitment to innovation-driven development and its contribution in the nation’s educational, scientific, technological and talent strengths.

The CUHK-Shenzhen No.1 satellite

Celebrating with a mass wedding

CUHK-Shenzhen held a creative celebration on 16 March to mark its 10th anniversary, with 100 couples participating in a mass wedding ceremony that fused Chinese and Western elements. With University President Professor Xu Yangsheng acting as witness, along with university students, alumni, parents and staff members, the couples swore their eternal vows.

The mass wedding fused elements of Chinese and Western ceremonies.

Momentous ceremony and dynamic events

On 23 March, CUHK-Shenzhen hosted a special ceremony and forums, attracting more than 1,000 guests from Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Esteemed scholars, government officials, and current and former Vice-Chancellors of CUHK gathered to exchange ideas and reflect on the University’s cross-boundary collaboration and phenomenal growth over the past 10 years. Guests then engaged in meaningful discussions during the Development Forums on the 10th Anniversary of CUHK-Shenzhen, which delved into the most important aspects of shaping an international education hub and fostering innovation in the ever-evolving landscape.

Staff members from both campuses singing “The Pearl of the Orient” at CUHK-Shenzhen’s 10th Anniversary special ceremony, accompanied by a joyous chorus involving the audience.

More eminent academic gatherings were organised to commemorate the 10th anniversary, including the “World University Leadership Summit: Higher Education Collaboration” last December which brought together presidents of 18 globally renowned universities from 10 countries and regions around the world, provoking impactful discussions on enhancing university collaboration and cultivation of innovative talents in the new era. This March, CUHK-Shenzhen also welcomed more than 100 academicians at four major forums focusing on artificial intelligence, mathematics, materials chemistry, and cell gene therapy and regenerative medicine respectively, bringing new perspectives and profound academic inspiration to the audience.

Including CUHK’s and CUHK-Shenzhen’s Presidents, leaders of 18 universities from 10 countries and regions around the world gathered at a CUHK-Shenzhen forum commemorating the University’s 10th anniversary.

In addition, there was a series of vibrant celebratory events, including the “Cross-strait, Hong Kong and Macao Key High School Principals’ Forum” bridging connections between the University and secondary schools; “The Blossoming Path” calligraphy exhibition showcasing exquisite congratulatory message works; the University’s first ever Track & Field Meet; and “Dragon Steps the World – CUHK-Shenzhen 10th Anniversary Home-school Journey” involving nearly 7,000 parents in 57 cities in China, who organised walks that show the uniqueness of their respective cities.

Parents of CUHK-Shenzhen students staged their own unique walks in their respective cities.

Getting closer to the top of the world

CUHK-Shenzhen has successfully embraced the “one brand, two campuses” philosophy, fostering synergies between CUHK and CUHK-Shenzhen to propel educational excellence in the Greater Bay Area (GBA). In a recent interview, University President Professor Xu shared his belief that the two universities will further leverage each other’s strengths to reach new heights in areas such as economics and finance, engineering, informatics and AI, harnessing Shenzhen’s proximity to those industries and its edge in applications, along with Hong Kong’s own traditions and foundations.

Last year, CUHK and CUHK-Shenzhen introduced an unprecedented collaborative double-major programme, with students studying for two years at each place, aiming to build closer ties among teachers and students on the two campuses and cultivate more talent for the GBA’s development.

With four disciplines already nearing top international standards, Professor Xu is confident that this tally will grow to 10 or more in the next decade. “I see a bright future for these two campuses,” says Professor Xu.