UNNC celebrates 20th anniversary with spectacular gala

15 April 2024

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On 13 April, the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) marked its 20th anniversary with a grand celebration at the D. H. Lawrence Auditorium. The event was attended by over a thousand students, staff, alumni, and distinguished guests from various sectors, all coming together to commemorate two decades of educational excellence and international collaboration. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people joined the celebration online from around the world.

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The evening began with an impressive light show that illuminated the auditorium, taking everyone through the significant milestones of UNNC’s two decade journey. A surprise appearance by a humanoid robot surprised the audience as it initiated the orchestral performance that officially opened the gala.


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The gala celebration retraced UNNC's glorious journey into the past, retracing its thriving growth to the present, and envisioning the boundless possibilities in the future through three chapters: Memories of the past, Seizing the moment, and Creating the future.


Visionary speeches

Madam Yafen Xu, Chair of UNNC Board, Professor Shearer West, the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, and Professor Jon Garibaldi, Provost of UNNC, delivered speeches as representatives of UNNC’s cooperative education partners from both China and the UK.

Madam Xu recalled the original aspiration for founding UNNC in 2004 amid China’s integration into the global economy: the wish to bring world-class educational resources to China and to cultivate versatile talents with both an international perspective and a deep understanding of China.

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Professor West acknowledged the significant development of UNNC, highlighting its strong international character. "UNNC has been one of the most significant institutions delivering high-level British-style higher education and innovation internationally. It has created international science and technology innovation platforms and shaped cross-border industry to university cooperation chains. It is through these ambitious endeavours, that we have nurtured our global mindset." She underlined the University of Nottingham family’s commitment to innovating and leading the ever-evolving realm of global higher education.

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Professor Garibaldi spoke passionately about UNNC’s unwavering commitment to the power of the highest quality international education in China. He emphasised, "Our success can not only be measured in our teaching excellence but also in the impact we've made through our research, knowledge exchange and technology transfer – addressing the key challenges of our age, solving problems and improving lives." He proudly highlighted the remarkable achievements that UNNC has made through people, collaboration, and looking globally, as well as the significant contributions that students, staff, and alumni have made to local socio-economic development.

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Following the speeches, the modern dance "Time Walker" paid homage to the founders who established Sino-foreign educational collaborations. Vocal performances such as "Memories on Taikang East Road" and "Forever Young" provided glimpses into UNNC’s vibrant campus life and the lasting friendships made. The dynamic street dance "Future is Now" showcased the bold ambitions of UNNC students, geared towards shaping a limitless future.

Global wishes and celebrations

The celebration also featured congratulatory video messages from the other two University of Nottingham campuses in the UK and Malaysia, highlighting the tight-knit international community of the University of Nottingham family.

The event reached its climax with the cake-cutting ceremony by university leaders, accompanied by spectacular fireworks, electrifying the atmosphere.

The 20th anniversary theme song "Fiery Stars" captured the enduring spirit of UNNC, echoing through the auditorium as a vow to continue breaking boundaries and chasing dreams.

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Meanwhile, landmark buildings across Ningbo, including the bustling Sanjiangkou and the southern business district, lit up in a grand display, celebrating UNNC's 20th anniversary and marking the achievements of China's higher education opening up to the world.

As the first Sino-foreign university, UNNC stands committed to advancing global educational standards and fostering international talents, ready to embark on the next chapter of excellence.


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