To Students at School of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Lanzhou University


                                         Yuan Honggeng

   Lanzhou University has always been an institution of higher education for students from families of moderate means and meager influence, and they have no virtually connection with bigwigs. In the history of this institution of higher education that celebrated its centenary a few years ago, many“common”alumni and alumna discreetly kept themselves out of fashion and never bore grudge when they were held in contempt, marginalized, or even maltreated. It was them who earned this university fame and glory with their veritable contributions.

   If you want to make your sojourn on campus meaningful and pleasant, you have to be conscientiously aware that knowledge stands solely for its own value, and its goal does not lie in any end, for it is the end instead of some means to some other ends. You are not expected to simply“spend”the three or four years at the university, short as it bounds to be. Instead, you are to work solidly on here, to gain collegiate experiences here, and, above all, to enjoy and treasure your Spartan life here.

   I assert your life here should be treasured, with every morning as an entirely new departure toward some destination, whether you regard it boring or interesting, because it is a necessary preparatory phase, mentally and epistemologically, for you and your future connections with some organizations, firms, governmental offices and institutions of education, in which you may find positions upon graduation. They are, in fact, universities of a totally different nature, as precisely expressed in the title of Maxim Gorky's autobiographical novel My Universities (Мои Университеты). At these universities infinite opportunities and menacing challenges are awaiting you.

   You are all very promising young men and women living in a peaceful and prosperous era. Eschewing fickleness, you are bound to make distinctive contributions to your fellow citizens and to this nation.