A University of Iowa graduation ceremony will be live-streamed to China this weekend.
The Tippie College of Business commencement starts at five p.m. Iowa time on Saturday, which means it will start at four o’clock in the morning in Beijing. Suyun Ma, a University of Iowa graduate student, is the university’s first-ever “global relations coordinator” and she says no other American university has done this.
“We are doing something very new and it definitely makes us very excited,” Ma says. “But also I think what we are doing is very meaningful to those students’ parents and families in China.”
Students have been emailing, asking where their parents back in China can to go to watch.
“Which made us feel like we are definitely doing the right thing,” Ma says.
Ma has sent messages via the “WeChat” app to alert U-I students and their families back in China about Saturday’s livestream. There’s recently been a dramatic increase in the number of Chinese students enrolled at the University of Iowa. Back in 2007 there were 537 students from China. In 2013, 2266 students from China were taking classes in Iowa City.
Two University of Iowa staff members who grew up in China will provide commentary and translation during Saturday’s event. University officials are trying to reach U-I graduates who are now living in China, to invite them to watch the livestream, too.