Nanjing University is one of China’s key comprehensive universities and it functions directly under the Ministry of Education. It is located in the ancient capital of six dynasties — Nanjing. The University dates back to 1902 when Sanjiang Normal School was founded, and then evolved as Liangjiang Normal School, Nanjing Higher Normal School, National Southeast University, the Fourth Zhongshan University, and National Central University. On August 8, 1949, the National Central University was renamed National Nanjing University. In October 1950, as required by the Ministry of Education, the name was changed to Nanjing University. In 1952, when a nationwide readjustment of universities took place, some schools, such as the School of Engineering and the School of Agriculture, were separated from the University; meanwhile, the University merged with the School of Liberal Arts and the School of Sciences of the University of Nanking, which was founded in 1888. The new university remained Nanjing University and the campus of Nanjing University moved from Sipailou to Gulou.
Today, Nanjing University consists of two campuses, one in Gulou and the other in Pukou with a total area of more than 3,600 mu (nearly 600 acres). It is one of the top universities in China, with beautiful campuses and modern teaching and research facilities. Its current President is Professor Jiang Shusheng, a physicist. The University celebrates its anniversary on May 20 of each year.
Nanjing University’s development has always been closely bound with the destiny of the Chinese nation and linked to her ever changing society. Nanjing Higher Normal University, the predecessor of Nanjing University, played a leading role in the area of Nanjing when the Youth Democratic Movement was held on May 4, 1919. In the early 1920s, it was in this university that a group of Chinese communist forerunners introduced the theory of Marxism to the public. The Second National Conference of Chinese Communist Youth League was also held at the University. During the Anti-Japanese War, organizations like the “Natural Sciences Forum” and the “Democracy and Science Forum”, headed by Pan Shu, Liang Xi and Jin Baoshan, renowned professors of National Central University, eventually became the democratic party “Jiu San Society.” During the Liberation War, teachers and students of National Central University stood at the forefront through out the democratic patriotic movement. On May 20, 1947, students of National Central University initiated an “Anti-Hunger, Anti-Civil War and Anti-Persecution Movement”, later known as the “May 20th Patriotic Students Movement.” After the National Central University was renamed Nanjing University, the truth-seeking convention was carried forward. In May 1978, one scholar at the Philosophy Department published, in the Guangming Daily, a well-known essay entitled “Practice Is the Sole Criterion for Testing Truth” and thus evoked “a heated discussion on the criterion of truth” that attracted nationwide attention.
Since Chinas reform and opening, Nanjing University has gradually developed multi-disciplinary programs in humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, technological sciences, life sciences, modern engineering and management. At present, Nanjing University has 17 schools with 50 departments. It runs 74 undergraduate programs, 186 masters programs (with six programs designated by the University itself), seven professional masters programs; 16 primary disciplines for doctoral degrees, and 122 Ph.D. programs (with six programs designated by the University itself) as well as 18 post-doctoral stations. In addition, the University has 28 national key disciplines, 10 provincial key disciplines, and 6 national key laboratories. It also houses 11 national training bases for the research and teaching personnel in basic sciences and liberal arts, and three bases for humanities and social sciences research appraised by the Chinese Ministry of Education. Among the nearly 2,000 teaching faculty, there are 654 full professors, including 27 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, three academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, four academicians of the Third-World Academy of Sciences, and one academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences. There are two premier scientists for the National Key Development Program in Basic Research (Project 973), and also 19 middle-aged and young scholars nationally appraised for remarkable contributions, 70 winners of National Outstanding Youth Fund, 36 specially appointed professors for the nations Cheung Kong Scholars Program, 29 scholars supported by the Supporting Plan for New Centurys Outstanding Talents of the Ministry of Education, four National Renowned Teachers, and 574 Ph.D. supervisors.
The reforms and development of Nanjing University have received attention from the Chinese Communist Party and Chinas Government, as well as public support. In 1992, after inspecting Nanjing University, President Jiang Zemin gave the following words of encouragement, “Build Nanjing University into an internationally influential educational and scientific center with characteristics of its own.” In 1994, Najing University was listed in “Project 211” (a project endorsed by the State Council and designed to upgrade, by the early part of the 21st century, some 100 universities in the hope that some of them would equal the world’s first-rate universities) as part of the first group of universities chosen directly by the State Council. In July 1999, an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Education and Jiangsu Provincial Government to jointly support the further development of Nanjing University, which indicated that Nanjing University is among the list of universities under the key construction plan of the country. In May 2002, Nanjing University celebrated its 100th anniversary, organizing successfully the activities such as the Centennial Ceremony, the World Famous Scientists Forum, Dialogue with Masters, etc, to advocate the thought of science and humanity. Seven alumni were awarded the Centennial Achievement Gold Medal for Alumni, and more than 25,000 alumni, 6 Nobel Prize laureates, more than 120 academicians and more than 100 university presidents gathered at Nanjing for the celebration. Alumni and people from various circles donated more than 139 million yuan RMB during the Centennial Ceremony, which evoked wide attention.
In the new century, Nanjing University is to carry forward its tradition and further its reforms. Through explorations and renovations, we are forging a pattern with Nanjing Universitys characteristics with higher level and better achievements. The University is heading towards a comprehensive, research-oriented and internationalized world-class university to contribute itself to the great revitalization of China.