“Be the dreamer of ambitious vision, a doer of great achievements and a giver of wonderful generosity.”

With these words, Li Cunxin, Queensland Ballet Artistic Director urged graduates to strive for their best in his Occasional Address at a Griffith University graduation ceremony in Brisbane this week, where he also received an honorary doctorate.

Li’s doctorate was conferred by University Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM at the ceremony for Arts, Education and Law graduates.

He is one of five Doctor of the University recipients, with the others being former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, Queensland Judge Fleur Kingham, theatre producer John Frost and Mary Roosevelt, an international educator and US Patron of Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics Childhood Leukaemia project.

Acknowledged as one of the best dancer of his generation, Liwas honoured for his service to ballet, the arts and the wider community. His memoirs, Mao’s Last Dancer, became one of the highest grossing Australian films.

As Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet, the company has grown significantly in audience numbers, subscribers, box office and the scope of sponsorship and philanthropy.

Li Cunxin accepts his Honorary Doctorate from Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM.

Li Cunxin accepts his Honorary Doctorate from Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM.

Program success

“What I would say to you is success, any kind of success, does not happen by accident, there’s not much luck involved,’’ he told the graduates.

“Opportunities, luck, education can only get you so far in life. What is the most important is to have that hunger, that fire in your belly at all times, inspire to be the best you could possibly be, inspire to make a positive difference to the world we live in.

“The pursuit of perfection and excellence will continue to make you improve and continue you, to encourage you to take the next step forward.”

But he cautioned that the road ahead would not always be easy.

“The bigger the success you want to achieve the harder the hurdle, the more the challenge,’’ he said.

“Sometimes through no fault of your own you will feel you fall down and your dreams broken into a thousand pieces. The question is what do you do about it? What kind of strength of character, what kind of determination do you have to have to pick up the broken pieces of your dreams and put them together?

“Have the courage to keep on moving forward. Eventually you will wear down these difficulties, break down these barriers and achieve your own kind of success. Never give up.”

“I want you to think of this day as the beginning of the most exciting time in your life. This life you will take on responsibilities. You need to have courage, you need to have tough, mental strength to be prepared to face the most challenging times in your life. Life is too short, it’s too precious, this is really about how best you can make your life.

“Only then can you possibly achieve your best and in return live a meaningful life, full of proud moments, a proud legacy that future generations would respect.”