Bryant University Zhuhai Historic First Commencement, a Global Vision Realized

Thursday, August 15, 2019 - 12:01 pm

SMITHFIELD, R.I. (June 10, 2019)–On June 8, in Zhuhai, China, Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley awarded Bryant Zhuhai’s historic first graduating class of 130 students with a Bryant Bachelor of Science in Business degree with a major in Accounting. Dr. Hao Ping, President of Peking University, one of the oldest and most important universities in the country, received an honorary Bryant degree. Ronald K. Machtley, President of Bryant University, and Dr. Taoguang (TG) Wang ’16H, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Beijing Institute of Technology Zhuhai, addressed the graduates and distinguished guests. Mr. Louis Page, member of Bryant University board of trustees, attended the ceremony.

Building bridges

The milestone commencement caps more than a decade of strategic efforts by Bryant University and its president to establish a four year school in Zhuhai, China. Dr. Hong Yang, Bryant University VP of International Affairs, and Charles J. Smiley, Chair Professor, were instrumental in making this effort a reality. It is only one of four U.S. universities with a four year American degree given in China. The graduation was the culmination of developing both governmental and educational relationships and building an educational bridge for American and Chinese students between Bryant University’s Smithfield, Rhode Island, campus and Bryant Zhuhai, located in Guangdong Province, China. Next year, 40 Zhuhai students will transfer as juniors to Bryant University Smithfield to complete their degree requirements.

Bryant Zhuhai was approved by Chinese Ministry of Education in March 2015 and welcomed its first entering class of Chinese students in September 2015. Students in Bryant Zhuhai’s inaugural class were selected from among the top 20 percent of all Chinese students taking the Chinese college entrance exam (Gaokao). There are currently 593 students enrolled in the four-year undergraduate program, a joint collaboration between Beijing Institute of Technology, Zhuhai (BITZH), and Bryant University. The academic program for American and Chinese students is taught in English and mirrors Bryant’s nationally recognized curriculum vigor and quality of faculty. Bryant Zhuhai graduates are prepared with the global perspective that is essential for success in today’s international business environment.

Global education for the future, a “win-win” approach

“As we look at the relations of our respective countries today, China and the United States, there has never been a more important time for this type of collaborative educational effort, where we can both understand not only complex academic concepts, but, just as important, understand one another, and appreciate that our futures as individuals and nations are inexplicably linked,” noted former U.S. congressman Machtley, now beginning his 24th year as president of Bryant University.

“U.S.-China relations have been, and will continue to be, the most important bilateral relationship in the future—a future where we must find win-win resolutions rather than zero-sum solutions,” said Machtley. “Just as Bryant is educating students in both the U.S. and China, both countries must make a commitment to not only continue but expand these exchange programs. Bryant Zhuhai is a model of how an inter-institutional education can be achieved.”

China has long been a cornerstone of Bryant University’s international strategy, and since 2005 Bryant has advanced innovative education initiatives between China and the United States. Bryant is the first American university to establish a presence in Zhuhai, the first university to form a partnership with a private institution in China, and offers the only U.S.-China joint four-year undergraduate business degree program in China.

Bryant President Ronald K. Machtley provided visionary leadership for the University’s China-related programs, which have steadily advanced with the expertise of Vice President for International Affairs Hong Yang, Ph.D., Bryant Zhuhai founding Academic Dean David Lux, Ph.D., and Bryant Zhuhai Dean Daniel Borgia, Ph.D.

“I want to thank the Bryant University Board of Trustees for their support of our vision; Dr. T.G. Wang from Beijing Institute of Technology Zhuhai, Dr. Hong Yang, Dr. David Lux, and Dr. Daniel Borgia for their leadership; and all of the faculty and staff whose tireless work and dedication have led to the success of Bryant Zhuhai and to this important moment in Bryant’s history. Anyone who has tried to do business in a foreign country in a 12 hour time zone difference, on top of different languages, cultures, and educational systems, knows this is not an easy thing to successfully accomplish,” Machtley added.

Prepared for interconnected, Fourth Industrial Revolution-driven world

“Congratulations to the graduates who have earned this historic Bryant University degree, one which is more valuable now than at any time in Bryant’s 156-year history. As global economies and cultures become increasingly interconnected, interdependent, and driven by Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, we are confident in your ability to succeed as leaders of character prepared to make a difference around the world,” he said.

“It is an honor to be a part of Bryant’s global community scholars. I am impressed by the commitment, hard work and accomplishments of our graduates,” said Daniel Borgia, Ph. D., Bryant Zhuhai Dean. “It is truly rewarding to be able to offer our students an education of the highest quality that will prepare them for success anywhere in the world.”

Dr. T.G. Wang expressed his appreciation for the collaboration and believes that the joint program has integrated the Chinese traditions of dedication, focus and hard work with American academic freedom, equality and collaboration, and provides students with a broader international perspective and brighter career.

About 70 percent of the new graduates have already been accepted to graduate schools around the world, with 20 enrolled in the Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) program at Bryant’s Smithfield campus. Others have secured employment with prominent companies and organizations in China and Hong Kong such as Ernst & Young, KPMG, Bank of China, and China Agriculture Bank. They join a powerful global network of more than 50,000 accomplished Bryant alumni around the world who are making a difference in their organizations and their communities.

About Bryant University

Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, is a leading private university offering an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education. Founded in 1863, Bryant University has approximately 3,700 graduate and undergraduate students from 32 states and 66 countries. Bryant University is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and Barron’s. Visit Bryant.edu.