Office of the President

December 12, 2018

Graduation marks a ‘magical moment’ for GIX

Ana Mari Cauce

This past weekend, the University of Washington and Tsinghua University marked a significant milestone as the very first cohort of Global Innovation Exchange students received their degrees. I was proud and honored to congratulate these 37 path-breakers as they picked up their diplomas.

Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong, who has been a wonderful partner as we’ve developed GIX together, perfectly encapsulated the vision of GIX in his remarks to the graduates. Invoking the 16th century Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões, he declared, “Where the earth ends and the sea begins, the space for innovation is as vast as the Pacific Ocean, and in the ocean of innovation, we must join hands and move forward side by side.”

That spirit of collaboration – across industries, disciplines, universities and nations – infused the graduation ceremony. Microsoft President Brad Smith, a visionary who has championed this partnership from the very beginning, told the graduates they are “bringing education into a more collaborative form with companies and others who are innovating in this region and around the world, and bringing higher education into new forms of collaboration between institutions and even between countries.” He called this “a pioneering step for the world of higher education, and…a magical moment.”

These 37 graduates from 11 countries will forever bear the distinction of being the first GIX cohort to graduate. I am excited to see what they do with their degrees, and I know we won’t have to wait very long to see their extraordinary outcomes. In fact, they’ve already begun to make their marks in areas as diverse as cybersecurity, agriculture, transportation, healthcare and the retail industry.

Congratulations to GIX’s outstanding leadership, including co-directors Vikram Jandhyala and Mary Lidstrom, as well as all the faculty who have made this innovative collaboration such a remarkable success. And thank you to everyone who made this historic moment possible.