Yes, welcoming President Ma for the official unveiling of the St. John’s University Zhuo-Yun Building 倬雲樓, and this was THE moment!
So today was the big day ~ and the sun was shining ~ YES! Just look at that blue sky at 8:00 am this morning ~ those in suits were sweltering!
Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-Jeou officially steps down as R.O.C. president on May 20, so this was his final visit to St. John’s University as president ~ and he was here especially for the official unveiling of the Zhuo-Yun Building 倬雲樓, named after Dr. Cecilia Koo 辜嚴倬雲 (倬雲 Zhuo-Yun being the 2 characters of her given name), who has faithfully served as chair of our school board of trustees since 1972. Dr. Cecilia Koo’s late husband was Koo Chen-Fu, President of the Straits Exchange Foundation 海基會 from 1990–2005, ‘a semi-official organization set up by the Republic of China (ROC) government to handle technical or business matters with the People’s Republic of China’. This is Dr. Cecilia Koo below (second right) in our newly-opened SJU Coffee Bar on her arrival this morning, with Rev. Samuel Lin, former chaplain and former dean of our cathedral, plus ladies from the trustees of Taiwan’s National Women’s Organization…
Lots and lots of VIPs were present, including many of Dr. Koo’s colleagues and associates in the different organizations she is involved with, plus school principals from many of our local junior-high and senior-high schools, colleges and other institutions. Many had also sent bouquets of flowers as congratulations. Bishop Lai and Rev. Samuel Lin were both here as trustees ~ here they are with our church members, Janet Tan and her aunt ~ who came along on the off chance of hoping to see President Ma. And guess what, they even got to shake his hand!
After the official unveiling, President Ma, accompanied by SJU President Chen Jean-Lien walked down through our student stalls and activities to our main auditorium, Centennial Hall, for the official celebrations of the 49th anniversary of the school. School chaplain Rev. Lennon Chang gave the opening prayer. After the National Anthem, we heard speeches from President Chen, Dr. Koo and President Ma ~ then after President Ma left, we had presentations of scholarships, singing of the school song, and a final blessing from Bishop Lai.
As you can imagine, security was tight ~ President Ma on a walkabout among hundreds of students must have been a logistical nightmare for his security team but, as you will see in the photos, everyone cooperated really well and everything went smoothly 🙂
For the VIPs, there was the singing of ‘Happy Birthday’, blowing out of the symbolic ’49’ candles, and the cutting of the cake, followed by a yummy buffet lunch 🙂
Also open today was the new SJU Guest House ~ based in the row of houses where I used to live on the campus. It used to be a row of 5 houses, 4 of them have now been knocked into one big guest house, with accommodation in 5 rooms, plus coffee bar, reception and living room area. The main entrance is now round at what was the back door. It’s being run by the students of the Dept of Tourism for a kind of work experience. And it’s beautiful!
Also on today in Advent Church was a reunion for alumni students who are celebrating 30 years since they graduated from their alma mater, in the days when the school was known as St. John’s and St. Mary’s Institute of Technology ~ over 100 came along, and our student fellowship team were on duty to assist. They were also on duty on a stall making Mother’s Day cards with students (next to the stall offering massage!) And some were in the Centennial Hall for the celebrations. Everybody was doing something!
Quite a day! Well done to everyone who has spent months organizing the event and to our students who all came to help out on the day ~ an amazingly cooperative effort ~ YES!