UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Chenyang Xie has found great success in China since graduating from Penn State Law in 2014, but he couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for his days in Happy Valley.
Although the number of Penn State Law graduates in China has been growing, Xie felt sometimes it could be a challenge to stay connected to fellow members of his Penn State family.
That changed in November with the first Penn State Law Alumni Reunion in Qingdao, which brought nearly 30 graduates together from all over China to celebrate Penn State's renowned worldwide alumni network. Expected to become an annual event, the Nov. 5-6 reunion included a banquet dinner and celebration, as well as group activities and sightseeing.
“I was very happy when I saw all my fellow graduates,” said Xie, who graduated from Penn State Law’s LL.M. program in 2010 and went on to became Penn State’s first S.J.D. (doctor of juridical science) graduate four years later. “It was very exciting, and felt just like the old days when I was in school.”
Chaunli Fan, a 2010 graduate of Penn State Law’s LL.M. program, said the reunion was a chance to not only catch up with old friends she knew from her days in the Lewis Katz Building, but to forge new friendships with alumni that she hadn’t met before.
“I love meeting new people, and having the chance to meet new Penn State Law alumni was great,” Fan said. “The reunion was inspiring. It’s easy for me to check where I am among fellow alumni; if I fall behind, then I can strive to catch up with them.”
Xie agreed, saying that he was able to have many thought-provoking conversations about law with his colleagues.
“My favorite part of the weekend was exchanging professional ideas and being able to share in each other’s growing and working experience,” Xie said. “The Penn State Law community in China has been developing a lot in recent years, so being able to come together like this was wonderful.”
Jing Hu, director of Graduate and International Programs, and Stephen Barnes, assistant dean of Graduate and International Programs, said the reunion helped inspire a feeling of community in all the alumni, with many saying they’re eagerly looking forward to next year’s reunion.
“No matter where our graduates are, they’re part of the Penn State family, and we want them to know that,” Hu said.