Nanjing University (colloquially 南大, Nándà) is a national comprehensive university located in Nanjing, an ancient capital of China. It is regarded as one of the best and most selective universities in China. Its history dates back to the first year of Yong'an reign (258 CE), making it one of the oldest higher learning institutions in the world. It became the first modern Chinese university in the early 1920s.
Nanjing University was refounded in 1915 with the name Nanjing Higher Normal Institute (南京高等师范学校) on the site of former Nanking Imperial University. Imperial Nanking University, the predecessor of Nanjing University, was originally founded in the first year of Yong'an reign (CE 258) under the Kingdom of Wu by the emperor Sun Xiu, and the first president was Wei Zhao. The Imperial University in Nanking (南京太学, Nanking Taixue) was reestablished by Jin Dynasty's emperor Sima Rui in 317 and 155 new rooms were built in the campus. Like its original forerunner Shang Hsiang (上庠) founded by Yu (禹, 21st century BCE) in Zhongyuan, the earliest recorded imperial higher school, it was the Kingdom's central university, with the role of educating literate and virtuous citizens and educating leaders to govern and serve the kingdom. In 470 during the Song Dynasty, the Imperial Nanking University became a comprehensive institution combining higher education and research and consisted of five divisions: Literature, History, Confucianism, Xuan Study and Yin Yang Study, and it was the first research educational institution in history. In the period the faculty members included such scholars and scientists as Zu Chongzhi, Ge Hong, Wang Xizhi.
In the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty, the Imperial Central University in Nanking was the world's largest higher education institution, with about 10 thousand students, many of whom came from a number of other countries. Wu Cheng'en, Zheng He and Zheng Chenggong studied there around the time. Each time when Nanking became a non-capital city, the Nanking Imperial University was changed to be Nanking Academy. The Nanking Imperial Central University (南京国子监, Nanking Guozijian) was changed to Nanking Academy (江宁府学, Jiangning Fuxue) in 1650 after Qing Dynasty replaced Ming Dynasty. The Sanjiang Normal College under new educational system was established to replace the traditional Chinese school Nanking Academy in 1902. The name was changed to Liangjiang Normal College in 1906, and established the first Faculty of modern Art in China. In 1915 after the Republic of China replaced Qing Dynasty, the Nanking Higher Normal School was founded to replace Liangjiang Higher Normal School, and the school established the first Faculty of modern Gymnastics (Physical Education) in 1916.
The "Chinese Science Society" (中国科学社), the earliest comprehensive science society in China, and mainly by whose members the "Academia Sinica" (中央研究院) which was later moved to Taiwan and known as the "Chinese Academy of Sciences" (中国科学院) in mainland China was established, settled in the university in 1918. Numerous Chinese modern science pioneers converged there to found many sciences in China. It became the Chinese cradle of modern science. Hereafter, many graduates achieved pioneering works in many fields for Chinese scientific enterprise. For instance, among 81 academicians of "Academia Sinica" elected for the first time in 1948, 5 entered or graduated from the university in the year 1920. More than half of the leading Chinese scientists whose works were published on internationally renowned scientific journals in the early period of Chinese modern science were graduates or academics of Nanjing University.
Guo Bingwen was an extremely influential university president, appointed in 1919. He insisted on the university’s independence and academic freedom. Liu Boming advocated liberty education, scholar spirit and pure learning ethos. Tao Xingzhi changed the traditional Instruction Approach to the Approach of Unity of Teaching and Learning, and adopted the Discipline-elective and Cause-credit-elective system. Tao Xingzhi, is famous for proposing The Audit Law for Women Students (《规定女子旁听法案》) on December 7th, 1919. He also proposed that the university to recruit female students. He was supported by Guo Bingwen, Liu Boming and famous professors such as Lu Zhiwei and Yang Xingfo. Finally, the meeting passed the law and decided to recruit women students next year. Nanjing Higher Normal Institute became the first in China to recruit coeducational students and enrolled eight women students in 1920. In 1921 the school became National Southeastern University (国立东南大学). The earliest modern scientific research laboratories and groups in China were established at the university. It integrated teaching and research, and was regarded as the earliest modern Chinese university. The Faculty of Business established in 1917 was moved to Shanghai to establish the first business school in China.
In October 1921, "Hsuehheng Society" (学衡社) was founded in the university which was the focus of the "Hsuehheng School" included the scholars Liu Boming, Liu Yizheng, Mei Guangdi, Wu Mi and Hu Xianxiao. They tried to reinvigorate traditional Chinese culture and start to publish the monthly "Critical Review" (Xueheng, 学衡 in Chinese) in January 1922. During this period, Nanjing University was known as the foremost "Oriental Education Centre" and recognized as an academic and cultural exchange centre for east and west. Many famous scholars visited and instructed there, including the American educationist Paul Monroe, W. H. Kilpatrick, E. L. Thorndike, philosopher John Dewey, writer Pearl Buck, British philosopher Bertrand Russell, German philosopher Hans Driesch and the Indian (also Bengali) poet Rabindranath Tagore.
The "Chinese Association of Natural Science" (中华自然科学社) was founded at the university in 1927. In August 1928 the school became National Central University (国立中央大学). During the Anti-Japanese War between 1937 and 1945, the university moved to Chongqing. The "Natural Science Forum" was founded by the faculties of the university in 1939 and it founded the "China Association of Scientific Workers" (中国科学工作者协会) in 1944. In 1958 the associations were merged to be the " China Association for Science and Technology" (中国科学技术协会) in Beijing. The "Natural Science Forum" was renamed "Sept. 3rd Forum" and later again renamed "Sept. 3rd Society" in 1945. The "Sept. 3rd Society", or called "Jiusan Society", is a China organization for intellectual workers.
In 1949, the central government of the Republic of China moved from mainland China, to Taiwan, and the National Central University was renamed National Nanjing University (国立南京大学). In 1952, a famous Christian university, University of Nanking (金陵大学), was merged with Nanjing University (南京大学). National Central University was reinstated in Taiwan under the ROC in 1962.
In 1976, the faculties and students of the university launched the "Nanjing 3.29 Movement" to oppose the Cultural Revolution, spreading countrywide. In 1978, Hu Fuming, a faculty member of the Philosophy Department of Nanjing University, wrote and published the historic article entitled "Practice is the Sole Criterion for Testing Truth". It led to the nationwide "Debate on Standards for Judging the Truth" and promoted the end of the Cultural Revolution.
Nanjing University has been at the forefront of developments in teaching and research in China. It was the first institution in the country to adopt student-centred teaching methods. It was the first co-educational Chinese university. It was the first Chinese university to provide doctoral education. It has been a pioneer in many fields in China, such as literature, art, history, philosophy, religion, sociology, biology, astronomy, physics, geoscience, computer science and business studies.
Schools and Departments
Pukou Campus rests in suburban Pukou District and became part of Nanjing University in 1993. Pukou Campus hosts undergraduate freshmen, sophomore and junior students and is connected with the main campus by both shuttle bus and public transportation.
The newly added Xianlin Campus will be put to use in September, 2008.
Alumni of the University of Nanking (merged in 1952)
Alumni of Attached/Affiliated Schools/Institutions