WSU Alum Commencement Address--in Chinese


On June 22, John Kolbe, a graduate of Wayne State University (WSU) and East Detroit High School, became the first international student ever to deliver a graduation speech at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, China —completely in Chinese!

Kolbe, a 2015 summa cum laude graduate from WSU with a major in Asian Studies, spent two years studying Chinese at HUST, and later embarked on a master’s degree in international trade at the university’s School of Economics.

One of approximately 30 graduates from the School of Economics and one of 300 international graduates, Kolbe spoke for ten minutes to a highly attentive—and even astonished--crowd of 8000 people. He cited change and adaptation as the driving theme of his speech.

With the international student population on the rise at HUST, a representative from the university’s International Student Office personally invited Kolbe to provide the university’s first-ever commencement speech delivered by a foreign student. Kolbe was recognized for his academic achievement, superior Chinese language skills, and ties to the Confucius Institute at Wayne State University, which has maintained a thriving partnership with HUST for more than ten years. Kolbe served as a long-time volunteer and student assistant at the Institute, ultimately earning two fully-paid scholarships to study at HUST.

Kolbe admitted to some initial stage fright, but ultimately prevailed as a magnanimous and truly unforgettable speaker--who made history at this top-ten Chinese university! Those linked to Kolbe directly or indirectly on social media saw his name light up their phones and computers for days!

With incredible dedication and passion, John Kolbe has pursued his dream of mastering Chinese, furthering his education, and traveling to a multitude of destinations far from his hometown of Eastpointe, Michigan.

Kolbe will teach a course in newspaper journalism at HUST this fall whilel also working as a proofreader for NIke PR in China. He also intends to make travel videos in his spare time.

John Kolbe epitomizes what it means to be Warrior Strong!

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WSU Alum Commencement Address--in Chinese 7/12/2018
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