Honorary Conferrings Speeches Archive

    at Aula Maxima, UCC

  • 05 Jun 2009







Dr MICHAEL MURPHY, President of University College Cork, on 5 June 2009, on the occasion of the conferring of the Degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, on PROFESSOR ZHOU ZHE-WEI



A Sheánsailéir, a mhuintir na hOllscoile agus a dhaoine uaisle,



Lord Mayor, Chancellor, Members of the Oireachtas, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,



With a population of over 20 million, the busiest cargo port in the world, the stock exchange of Asia’s largest economy, Shanghai is not an obvious twinning partner for Cork.  It does, of course share the 021 telephone dialing prefix and the “second-city attitude” toBeijing that we enjoy withDublin - obvious explanations for the success of the partnership between our two cities for over the past 5 years! And we are in the good company of other second cities –Milan,Chicago,Barcelona,Sao Paulo andSaint Petersburg – all twinned withShanghai.



The University of Shanghai is the city’s major MunicipalPublicUniversity.  F ounded in 1994 by consolidating four former institutions of higher learning, i t can trace its origins to an earlier, pre-cursor University of Shanghai, established jointly by the Communist Party and the Kuomintang (or Nationalist Party) in 1922, but which disintegrated during the subsequent strife between the founding parties, and was physically destroyed in World War II.  Today, the modern Shanghai University, with 42,000 students (8,000 of whom are post-graduates) taught by 3,000 faculty, exhibits a rich tapestry of programmes across the arts, law, social science, physical and life sciences as well as a large range of engineering disciplines. It accommodates 72 research institutes as well as an advanced high technology science park.



Its founding leader, Prof Chien now 96 years old, is believed to be the oldest university president in the world.  However, the growth and success of the university, in recent years may be attributed largely to the vision and skill of our honoree today, Executive Vice-President Zhou Zhewei.



Prof. Zhou was born in HubeiProvince, PeoplesRepublic of China, in 1950. His first university award was a Batchelor’s degree in Engineering from the Chongqing Architecture Institute in 1982.  He subsequently studied in the Mechanics Department, Huazhong University of Science and Technology where he was awarded a Masters degree in Engineering in 1984. His formal education was completed by a doctorate from theInstitute ofApplied Mathematics and Mechanics, Shanghai University of Technology in 1987.  He was appointed Professor of Fluid Mechanics atShanghaiUniversity, and in 2005 assumed leadership of the university as Executive VicePresident.



Prof. Zhou’s research focused on fluid mechanics, in areas such as perturbation theory, on stability of fluid motion and spray atomization.  He has been principal investigator of many projects supported by the Chinese Natural Science Foundation and by the Shanghai Natural Science Foundation.  His scientific achievements and his university leadership skills have been recognized widely in China. He is Vice Director of Shanghai Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, Chief Editor of the journal “Applied Mathematics and Mechanics”, a Standing Member of the Chinese Association of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Vice Chairman of the University Administration Committee in the Chinese Association of Higher Education, and he is Vice Chairman of Shanghai Association of Higher Education.



As the executive head of ShanghaiUniversity, Prof. Zhou is guardian of the vision and mission of that university.  ThePresident, Vice–chancellor or Rector of anyEuropeanUniversitycould profit from contemplation of its mission, succinctly stated as – educating people with all-round development and a spirit of innovation, while breaking down four barriers:


the barrier between teaching and learning;


the barrier between teaching and research;


the barrier between schools, departments and disciplines;


and the barrier between campus and community.



UniversityCollegeCork has enjoyed and appreciates the invaluable support of ShanghaiUniversity under the leadership of Prof Zhou during the past four years.  We have invested great energy in developing academic engagement withChina.  On the one hand, we have attracted almost 300 undergraduate and graduate students from thePeoplesRepublic ofChina to UCC, by far the largest cohort of Chinese students in any Irish university, many fromShanghaiUniversity.  At the same time, ourInstitute ofChinese Studies has grown exponentially such that 150 Irish students now read degree programmes in Chinese language and culture at UCC – again, by far the most significant university programme in the country.  A year, or term, of full-time study inChina, forms an integral part of these courses. Last year, the first cohort from UCC (15 students) undertook a year of superb study inShanghaiUniversity, and the UCC population inShanghaiis expected to double annually over the coming years.



Since 2007, we have also had the privilege of hosting a Confucius Centre at UCC.  Confucius centres are the Chinese equivalents of the Goethe Institute of Germany or the Alliance Francese, charged with promoting Chinese arts and culture throughout the world.  Each centre has a mentor university inChina which provides academic support, teaching materials and a rota of fulltime teaching staff.  The centre at UCC, led by Prof. Fan Hong, enjoys the guidance of academic staff atShanghaiUniversity.  The official launch of our Confucius Centre took place inShanghaiUniversity last October, hosted by Executive Vice-PresidentZhao, and was attended by our Minister for Education and Science, Mr. Batt O’Keeffe. 



Critical to our success in evolving these large, high quality, programmes has been a commitment to bi-directional exchanges, mutual respect, and the enthusiastic collaboration of our academic partners inChina. This afternoon, we express our appreciation by honouring Prof. Zhou Zhewei - in his personal capacity as an accomplished academic, as an outstanding university leader with vision and boldness, as executive head of the municipal university in China’s largest metropolis, - and in a representative capacity, to express our gratitude to his university for its generous support of UCC past and future.



Praehonorabilis Cancellarie, totaque universitas.


Presento vobis hunc meum filium, quem scio tam moribus quam doctrina habilem et idoneum esse qui admittatur, honoris causa, ad gradum Doctoratus in Scientiae, idque tibi fide mea testor ac spondeo, totique Academiae.



« Previous Item

Next Item »

« Back to Honorary Conferrings Speeches Archive


Bronnadh Céimeanna

Ask a question

Contact us