In order to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Open University of China (OUC), on 21 June 2019, a number of outstanding alumni were invited to return to the OUC to participate in the celebration activities.

On the afternoon of 21 June, 15 graduates of the OUC, including Dong Ming, a National Model of Morality, National Model of Self-improvement, and winner of the May 4th Youth Medal; National Model Workers Long Siqing, Bai Xuejie, and Zhang Guoqiao; and Zhu Guiquan, a first prize winner of the Army Outstanding Talents Award, attended the symposium. Ye Zhihong, director of the Academic Affairs Department, Liu Zhimin, director of the Faculty of Economics and Management, and Gu Xiaohua, deputy director of the Faculty of Political Science and Law, participated in the symposium as teacher representatives. The meeting was chaired by vice president Li Linshu, who also delivered a speech.

In his speech, Li Linshu pointed out that outstanding alumni are the pride of the OUC and the greatest contributors to the construction of the OUC brand over the past 40 years. He thanked the alumni for their efforts, for staying true to their original intention, and for their contributions to the development of our society. Li Linshu also told the alumni about the developments and changes in the OUC in recent years and explained the meaning of the OUC as a new university that sets no barriers for students. He emphasised that today's open universities have undergone profound changes in terms of their school-running model and methods and the content of their teaching. Instead of focusing on making up for the shortcomings of degree education, they are geared towards improving the literacy of all members of society. They no longer rely solely on radios and televisions, but on the Internet multi-terminals so that everyone can learn anytime and anywhere. Further reform and innovations have been made in these universities with more emphasis on the use of social resources to integrate social forces and gather the best quality resources to run schools.

At the symposium, the alumni expressed their excitement about returning to their alma mater and conveyed their gratitude. They depicted the development and changes of the OUC in poems and songs. Li Chengwai, an alumnus from Hubei Radio and TV University (Hubei RTVU), is a member of the Chinese Writers Association. He said that the knowledge he gained from the RTVU is no less than that from any higher education institutions. As a graduate of the RTVU, he has always had cultural confidence and he attributes the great changes in his work and life to his RTVU education. Long Siqing, a former student of Hunan RTVU, is secretary of the Guchong village Party branch in Zhijiang county, Hunan province. She said that without her RTVU education, she would have made no achievements today. Learning has become a necessity in her work and life. Her RTVU education broadened her horizons and liberated her mind. She uses the knowledge she has gained for the management of affairs in villages and towns, attracting investment, developing e-commerce, and leading villagers to get rich. Under her leadership, Guchong village now has eight rural RTVU college students. Duan Xuhui is a model of respecting and loving the seniors from Xi'an. He said that he was deeply impressed by the words "staying true to your original intention along the way, carrying out morality education, and taking up one’s own mission.” He will stick to the original intention of continuous learning and lifelong learning, and continue to contribute to society by working hard in his post. Shen Xiaoqin, a student of the Experimental School and Secretary of the Beisha villagers' committee in Foshan city, Guangdong province, said that, "It is a dream to be here as an outstanding alumni representative for the 40th anniversary. My learning experience at the RTVU has made me a person with courage and many abilities. Now, thanks to my identity as an RTVU graduate, I am driving people around me to pay back to society."

While looking back on their life at the RTVUs and displaying their brilliant achievements, the alumni also expressed their hopes for their alma mater: they hope that their alma mater will be able to gather the strength of its alumni and take advantage of their resources, strengthen its contacts with alumni, cooperate closely, and help the development of the alma mater together. Some alumni expressed their hope that their alma mater can provide a larger and broader platform for society and the alumni so that more people can benefit from it.

Over the past 40 years, the OUC, centering its work on the training of talented professionals, has trained a large number of skilled, reliable professionals, meeting the needs of China and all members of society. 14.4 million alumni are the OUC’s greatest resource and what they have achieved is proof of the quality of the OUC’s operations.

By Tian Suxia and Ma Ning, OUC