The predecessor of the university was Shaan Bei Public School established in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Later it was renamed the North China United University and North China University. Renmin University of China was officially established in 1950, the first national university of People's Republic of China. Wu Yuzhang, Cheng Fangwu, Guo Yingqiu, Yuan Baohua, Huang Da, and Li Wenhai have successively held the presidential posts. The current university president is Prof. Ji Baocheng, a renowned expert in trade economics and educational administration.
The University library has 2.5 million holdings, and is recognized as the Information Center of Arts Literatures by the Ministry of Education. The new library building is under construction at this time. The Renmin University of China Press is one of the most famous pulishers and the first university press in China which has published a large number of academic works in humanities and social sciences.
Renmin University has established its communications with 125 universities and research institutions of 32 countries and regions, which enables the University to be the center of academic and cultural communications between China and foreign countries. Many famous scholars have given lectures or attended special seminars in Renmin University, including the Nobel Prize in Economics winners Robert Mundell, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Michael Spence, John Forbes Nash, Edmund S. Phelps and Reinhard Selten.
Renmin University of China is one of the leading humanities and social science-focused universities in China, gaining national recognition for excellence in theoretical economics, applied economics, legal studies, sociology, and journalism & communication. According to the evaluation report of Ministry of Education of China, Renmin University of China Law School, Economics, Sociology, School of Journalism rank top one among China's universities. Generally speaking Renmin University is considered to be the best place for students to study social sciences in China.
Renmin University is located at No.59 Zhongguancun Street, Haidian district, and is less than 5-10 minutes drive away from other top schools in the nation, for example, Peking University, Tsinghua University, Beijing Institute of Technology and Beijing Foreign Studies University. It is also only less than 10 minutes away from the Old Summer Palace and Summer Palace.
The English Corner at Renmin University is very famous in Beijing. Every Friday evening, people gather at the Qiushi Garden near the east gate to practice English. It is a good place to meet and communicate with the students of the university and the common people of China.
Renmin University is host to about 1,165 international students at present and many of the students are from South Korea. There are so many South Korean students that the International Students Dining Room has a separate Korean menu aside from their traditional Chinese menu.