Celebrating Duke Kunshan University

Chinese dignitaries and Duke officials hold ceremony to mark preparation approval

Duke President Richard H. Brodhead unveils DKU plaque with president of Wuhan University and Jiangsu Province officials.

Hundreds of guests attended Wednesday's ceremony inside a tent at the site of the new DKU campus.

Confetti filled the air and a ceremonial plaque was unveiled Wednesday as Chinese and U.S. government officials, Duke alumni and parents in China and others joined with senior Duke University officials and faculty to celebrate the Chinese Ministry of Education's preliminary approval of Duke Kunshan University.Several hundred people gathered inside a tent at the site of the new university, which received preliminary approval in August from China's Ministry of Education. Wednesday's ceremony followed local custom in bringing together Chinese government and education leaders with the Duke community to formally announce that milestone and look ahead to the school's planned opening next year.Robert Wang, deputy chief of mission of the American Embassy in Beijing, was among several speakers at the ceremony. Other speakers represented Duke's two partners in the new university -- the City of Kunshan and Wuhan University -- and the leadership of the new campus.Two Chinese opera singers and local vocalists performing "Dear Old Duke" in English and Chinese kicked off the event, which also included a student dance group and video greetings from Duke board chair Richard Wagoner, basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and professor Haiyan Gao, the chair of Duke's China Faculty Council, among others."DKU is the work of partners who are located half a world apart, but who share two key commitments: a belief in the value of education and a commitment to creating versions of education to meet key needs for our future," Duke President Richard H. Brodhead said at the ceremony.Liu Jingnan, DKU's designated chancellor, said "Duke Kunshan University is a bold project to drive innovation in Chinese international education. It represents a real chance to explore new models of higher education in China and sets an example for other Sino-international cooperative schools."Following the ceremony, many of the participants and guests participated in a celebratory banquet. Duke also hosted a reception in Shanghai Wednesday evening for alumni and parents.