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Harbin Institute of Technology

Ma Zuguang's Spirit Is Passed on to a New Era of Teachers and Students

Updated: 2018/04/23

Written by: Shang Wenkai
Translated by: Zhou Dongyi
Edited by: D. Parker
Date: April 12th, 2018

“Dear Professor Ma, first of all, I want to tell you the big news: the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was celebrated in October of 2017!”

In the drizzle, Professor Wang Yusan stood beside the bronze statue of academician Ma Zuguang, who was an outstanding representative of the national communist party, the defense science and technology industry, and the old generation of “eight hundred warriors”. With a voice choked with emotion yet filled with excitement, he told “Lao Ma”- stories that have brought both excitement and pride countless Chinese over the years.

On the morning of April 11th, 2015 Wu Songquan, member of the Party Committee, minister of Propaganda, and Professor Wang Yusan, who worked with Ma Zuguang for 33 years, as well as the heads of various departments and student representatives met in front of the statue of Academician Ma Zuguang to give homage.  Youth oaths were also renewed.  Over the years, this has become a tradition and ceremony for both teachers and students in HIT.

“Dear Professor Ma, you have been away from us for 15 years. The staff and students of the school miss you in various ways every year. In the past year, I shared more than 20 stories from your life. For me, telling your stories promotes the spirit of HIT. Your spirit inspires HITers to move forward and strive to become a world renowned, first class university from generation to generation.” After teachers and students gave their flowers, Professor Wang Yusan spoke intimately to his colleagues and partners in the rain. With a heartfelt voice, his words touched and inspired both  teachers and students.

“He is Ma Zuguang of HIT, and he is Ma Zuguang of China. Perhaps his footprints will fade with time, but his figure stands as a permanent light, guiding the growth of every HITer and shedding light into the hearts of the Chinese people."  HIT’s 16th Postgraduate Student Supporting Committee read a poem “Be the Light of Our Country”, honoring the brilliant and extraordinary life of academician Ma Zuguang and expressing their respect to him.

April 11th, 2018 was the 90th anniversary of the birth of academician Ma Zuguang. On this important and special day, HIT teachers and students commemorated in various ways this admirable man.  They took concrete actions to pass on the torch of Ma Zuguang’s spirit, endeavoring to influence all those around them to join in as his follower in a new era.

Later in the day, a story-telling activity honoring academician Ma Zuguang was held at the Student Activity Center, room 208.  It’s theme:  “Chasing the Light”. Accompanied by the familiar and melodious melody of “You Are the Light”, the venue was filled with teachers and students expressing their admiration. Everyone listened to the touching stories receiving valuable lessons.

Since his teenage years, Ma had determined to “do something for his motherland.” Upon graduation, he responded to the national call to take roots in the frontier. He showed tireless learning of scientific and cultural knowledge.  He established the first group of laser professionals in the country.  His discoveries brought a new spectrum for the glory of the country. He grew to become “the good teacher” in the eyes of the students and "good sir" in the eyes of his wife.

Lan Peng, a representative of the readers and a 2015 undergraduate of the School of Materials, said with deep feeling, “I am deeply impressed by the event. Professor Ma was not only a scientist but also a good and responsible teacher.  His presence is missed by all."

Zhang Zheyan, undergraduate from the School of Electrical Engineering, wrote the following to his circle of friends after listening to the reading activity, “He was poetic, even immortal; even still he is a light leading the students. I had the honor of listening to the story of “the light” and have volunteered to be his follower in this new era.”

The story of Academician Ma Zuguang, was read by 11 teachers and student.  They chose selections from the article “Ma Zuguang, a Model for Contemporary Intellectuals, an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and an Excellent Member of the Party” to tell his story.  One of the authors of the article, Associate Professor Zou Bo of the Institute of Management shared and described some of the details of an interview with Ma Zuguang and the the profound influence Ma Zuguang had on his life.  “Academician Ma Zuguang was an example of lifelong learning. He taught me to be a loving person. I would like to be a “light chaser”, and tell the story of Academician Ma Zuguang to more people. I want the spirit of Ma Zuguang and his power to encourage more people" Zou Bo said.

Zou Bo added, “Mr. Ma heeded the party’s call throughout his life and always put the needs of his country first. He was faithful to the mission of educating people. Although Mr. Ma has left us forever, his spirit is eternal. As long as my physical conditions permit, I will continue to tell his stories."

In order to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the birth of Academician Ma Zuguang, the Institute of Astronautics and Basic Sciences chose the theme “Missions of the Spirit of Space.”  Activities were held at the statue of Ma Zuguan.  There were seminars on the advanced deeds of Ma Zuguan with the theme “Reporting the Heritage of His Memory”. The activities were successful in inspiring an upsurge of studying Ma Zuguang and young students practicing the spirit of Ma Zuguang.

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Teachers and students give honor to academician Ma Zuguang at his statue and recite the youth oath.


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