While several details of NYU Shanghai’s first Commencement, a historic event which is less than two weeks away, are still a mystery, the Commencement Torch was delivered the afternoon of May 16.
The torch cannot be lit up with a flame due to China’s laws restricting fire in indoor areas, but it symbolizes NYU Shanghai’s establishment as a school with graduates. While it is NYU tradition that the torch be passed from the oldest staff member to the youngest graduate during commencement “symbolizing the transference of light and knowledge”, NYU Shanghai will be following NYU Abu Dhabi’s custom where the torch is passed from the representative of the graduating class to a representative of the junior class. This upcoming commencement, Class of 2017 representative Tyler Rhorick will be passing the torch to junior Dylan Crow, who will be representing the Class of 2018.
Like NYU New York and NYU Abu Dhabi’s torch, NYU Shanghai’s torch is made up of silver. After receiving student submissions for the torch design, the Office of Student Life combined several designs to create a finalized one that distinctly represents the academic purpose and knowledge of NYU Shanghai, the first Sino-American school to receive independent status from the Chinese government. There are no design similarities between the NYU New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai torches other than general shape and length.
Compared with NYU Shanghai’s torch, NYU New York’s silver torch was designed by Tiffany and Company and gifted to the University in 1911 by Helen Miller Gould. It is considered a “symbol of academic purpose and authority.” The carrying and passing of the torch was briefly dropped at the Yankee Stadium commencement in 1953 before being reinstated in 1962. NYU Abu Dhabi’s commencement torch was designed by NYU Abu Dhabi students who got inspiration from the visual and cultural heritage of Arab lanterns.
NYU Shanghai’s first Commencement ceremony will take place at the Oriental Arts Center on May 28, 2017. More Commencement details and a live video of the event can be found here.
This article was written by Jingyi Wang. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Lathika Chandra Mouli