Text: Chia-Yi Lee
Photo: Jung-Hui Hsu
Translation: Steve J. Lin
June 3 was the commencement date for TCU’s graduates, with over 1,000 parents of students from Taiwan and overseas attending this event. To serve those family members who were unable to attend, TCU broadcasted the event live. All graduates received best wishes from their teachers. For most graduates, many things they encountered in the university, which were brand new to them. Many had not left home and lived elsewhere for a long while before, yet they came to TCU, which is so far away from their homes, and this was their first time. Many of them had never served as volunteers before, and TCU provided the opportunity for them to serve as volunteers. Many students had never gone overseas before, yet TCU provided financial support for them to travel overseas to serve the needy, and this was also their first time. All these experiences have been very important to them. Chia-Jung Gan, a parent coming from Taipei to take part in event, said his child had become much more open minded, and not shy anymore, since coming to TCU, and he felt grateful to TCU.
A total of 737 graduates, comprising doctoral, Master’s, and undergraduate students, graduated this year. For the School of Chinese Medicine, this was the first year since its inception, to have graduates. Twenty-seven international students from Malaysia, India, etc., also graduated. During the ceremony, TCU’s faculty members turned mortarboard tassels from the right to the left for each graduate, which signified a rite of passage from students to graduates. The songs of “Sutra of Filial Piety,” “Answer,” “Twelve Vows of Medicine Buddha,” “Reminder” and “Gratitude,” were performed.
Parents work hard for their children and expect their children to receive good education to make the best use of their lives after completing their degree programs. Tian-Lin Zhang graduated from the School of Medicine this year, and witnessed how hard his parents have worked since he was a little boy. He knew very well that he needed to concentrate on his studies, and thus in the 12th grade, he was admitted to TCU’s school of Medicine and Cheng Kung University’s Electric Engineering. He decided to stay in Hualien, since his parents live in Hualien and are getting old, and he wished to look after them, regularly. Besides this, he was grateful of receiving financial aid for his first year of study from Tzu Chi Foundation, through the assistance of a Tzu Chi volunteer. Tuition and fees were a big burden for Tian-Lin, so he studied diligently, and was rewarded with a six year Tzu Chi Scholarship. Tian-Lin said, “We can’t choose what kind of family in which we are born, but we can decide how diligent we can be. Now education costs a lot, and I was fortunate to receive financial aid, so that I could complete my undergraduate program. I wish to help my family and others after I start working.” His parents came to attend his commencement. Tian-Lin is happy that he will work at a hospital right after taking the National Licensing Exam, and then he will be able to assist his parents and others financially.
“Answer” was performed by graduates and their Tzu-Cheng/Yi-Te dads and moms. These dads and moms were not students’ real dads and moms, yet these dads and moms accompanied students as if they were the students’ parents. Ke-Yun Wei, a Nursing graduate, said that she was raised by her grandfather and grandmother, and they were much closer to each other. While Ke-Yun studied in Hualien, her grandparents lived in Kaohsiung. Her grandfather was old, and she always worried about his health. When her grandfather passed away in her junior year, she was working at Hualien Tzu Chi General Hospital as an intern, and was unable to go back home to be with her grandmother. The day after her grandfather’s passing, her Tzu Cheng/Yi-Te dads and moms called her to say they were with her grandmother in Kaohsiung, and they regularly gave updates on her grandmother’s condition. Ke-Yun is grateful that TCU gave her three special presents: the opportunity to serve others; enhancement of her professional knowledge and skills; and a heart filled with gratitude.
Sheng-San Gan, a Lab Medicine and Biotechnology graduate, said that Tzu Chi volunteers’ unselfish giving is the reason why he chose Tzu Chi University. He joined “TCU Medical Outreach in the Philippines” in the summer of his sophomore year. He was touched by Tzu Chi volunteers’ enthusiasm and openness while serving others, and thus he took initiative to open his mind and throw away his shyness. His father, Chia-Jung Gan, agreed that Sheng-San used to keep everything to himself, and didn’t talk much, either, yet he is now happy to share with others. His mother I-Chen Lai said that Sheng-San shared his feelings with her right after coming back from the Philippines that he had never imagined there were so many people living so poorly, he wished to go back there to see them, and wanted to make more money to help them.
President Pen-Jung Wang and TCU faculty members performed “Reminder.” He wished graduates the best, expecting them to sail joyfully in their lifetimes. While they are sailing, they might need enter a port to take a short rest, but never stay there too long; just keep sailing forward. Every graduate is now equipped with professional knowledge and skills, and has a compassionate heart. While sailing on the sea, the weather may be good and the waves smooth, yet they may also encounter strong winds and heavy rain. Whatever they encounter, the President reminded them that they need to stick to their dreams, and head it towards their goals.
Dharma Master Cheng Yen was grateful to parents for supporting their children to study at Tzu Chi University, and gave her best wishes to all the graduates. The Master wished everyone would take every step resolutely, keep kind and compassionate hearts, and be helpful to others. The Master anticipated every graduate would excel in their careers.
Student volunteers of the Media Education and Production Center helped to broadcast this commencement live, so those parents who were unable to attend in person could still access their children’s commencement via YouTube or FB to take part in it.