On January 15, the U of M China Office hosted our annual New Year Party for gophers and friends at the lovely Nola Café in Beijing. We had nearly 100 guests (!), most of which were alumni, plus a handful of current students and a few friends of gophers. It was a truly memorable and festive event for all of us, and we appreciate the great turnout and all the hard work from our volunteers behind the scenes to make the celebration successful.
During the event, China Office Director Wanling warmly welcomed our guests, provided key updates on University of Minnesota-China developments that took place in 2015, and later facilitated some U trivia and a "lucky draw" for a prize donated by Ms. Joan Brzezinski, Executive Director of China Center, who could not join us at the event herself, but extended her best wishes to the alumni in China. We were also honored to have our UMAA Beijing Chapter President Mr. Wenjie (Fu) briefly introduce the Beijing Chapter of the Alumni Association, and he called upon everybody in the network to contribute and support the U-community. We also heard a short speech from a fairly new alumni representative, Mr. Ted (Meinhover), who works for the US Embassy and expressed his excitement (mostly in Mandarin) to meet with so many alumni and also shared his general enthusiasm to see high quality students from China continue to choose the U for their higher education.
Three of our most active alumni ambassadors during 2015 were also recognized for their contributions at the event. Ms. Annica (Lv), Fran (Liu) and Snow (Wang), have each given us great examples on how to stay connected with the alma mater and give back with their heart and graciousness. Not to understate it, these alumni have been instrumental resources for newly admitted students, supporting our Office in preparing our new students to make a successful transition to life on campus in Minnesota.
The event lasted for more than three hours, and brought together generations of alumni, both national and expatriate. On a related note, we want to give a special recognition to Ms. Yaqiong and Yanjiao who have helped us find another WeChat group of almost 500 people!! Also, we want to thank Yicong (Li), our youngest new gopher, who took on the responsibility of photographer from start to end.
Thank you all, our dear alumni and gophers! We hope to see you at the next great alumni event!