In 1919, with the assistance of all walks of life, Nankai  University was founded by the patriotic educators Mr.Zhang Boling and Mr. Yan  Fansun on the principles of art to regulate the country, science to strengthen  the country, and business to richen the country. Combined with Chinese reality  and Western mode of running school, Nankai University set up Chinese history and  society as its academic setting and solving native problems as its educational  objective. In 1920s and 1930s Nankai University grew to be the most famous  private university.



Ever since its foundation, the University has held as its  objective a well-balanced development in morality, intelligence, physical  education and art. In accordance with its motto of dedication to the public  interests, acquisition of all-round capability and aspiration for daily  progress, the university has been dedicated to cultivating the students' public  virtues of patriotism and collectivism and developing their abilities to serve  the country. By advocating sporting, science, plays, publication and a variety  of societal activities, Nankai University attaches great importance to  personality cultivation and moral training as well as capability development,  and thus stands out in modern Chinese educational history. Having put forward  the educational policy of knowing China to serve China, the University has  opened a series of specialties catering to social demands and, after long-term  hard work, has made a name for its high-level academic environment, prudent  scientific training and down-to-the-earth style. The University has produced  batches of prominent talents such as late Premier Zhou Enlai, Dr. Shiing-shen  Chern, Dr. Ta-you Wu and playwright Cao Yu.



When the University was founded, there were only three  disciplines, Arts, Sciences and Business, with the number of students totaling  96 and Zhou Enlai being among the first Arts enrollees (student number 62). In  1920 a fourth discipline of Mineralogy was added but stopped in 1926. In 1927  the Committee of Social Economic Research (later Economic Research Institute)  and Research Committee of Manchu and Mongolia (later North-eastern Research  Institute)were set up. The Economic Research Institute focused on field work and  economic statistics mainly on price index and published Economic Weekly and  Yearbook of Nankai Index, which were frequently referred to by domestic and  international adademies. In 1929 the disciplines were merged into 4 schools,  viz. School of Arts, School of Sciences, School of Business and Medical Prep,  with 13 Departments in total. In 1931 the School of Business was merged with the  Department of Economics and the Committee of Social Economic Research into the  School of Economics, and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Department  of Electrical Engineering were established within the School of Sciences. In  1932 the Institute of Applied Chemistry was founded.  



In its early years, as a private university, the School's  sources of financing relied mainly on funds groups and personal donations, with  some sources coming from government subsidy, tuition and revenues from the  School's assets. The School was kept in small scale with its enrollment in 1937  no more than 429. Nevertheless, it boasted a strong group of faculty, such as  Ling Bing and Zhang Pengchun in Education, Jiang Lifu and Liu Jinnian in  Mathematics, Rao Yutai in Physics, Qiu Zongyue and Yang Shixian in Chemistry, Li  Jidong and Xiong Dashi in Biology, Jiang Tingfu in History, Li Ji in  Anthropology, Xiao Gongquan and Xumo in Politics, He Lian, Fang Xianting, Chen  Xujing, Li Zhuomin in Economics, Huang Yusheng in Psychology, Liu Wuji and Situ  Yuelan in English, Feng Wenqian in Philosophy, Zhang Kezhong and Zhang Hongyuan  in Chemical Engineering. Such eminent figures as Zhu Kezhen in Geology and  Meteorology, Tang Yongtong in Philosophy, Fan Wenlan in History, Luo Longji in  Politics and Ta-you Wu in Physics also lectured in Nankai.  



In July, 1937 Nankai University was bombed by Japanese Army,  two thirds of its buildings were ruined. In August, Nankai University, Peking  University (Beijng University) and Tsinghua University (Qinghua University)  united in Changsha to form Changsha Temporary University, and the three  Presidents worked together as members of the Standing Committee to chair the  School. 1n April of 1938 Changsha Temporary University was moved to Kunming and  was changed into Southwest Associated University. In 1939 the Economic Institute  of Nankai was transferred to Nankai Middle School located in Shapingba of  Chongqing city and kept recruiting graduates. In July of 1942 the Research  Center of Frontier Humanities was set up in Kunming and Frontier Humanities was  published. During the Southwest Associated University period, the three schools,  standing through thick and thin, produced a great amount of noted scientists and  patriotic revolutionaries.  


  

After the victory of Anti-Japanese War, the three schools was  moved back to their respective site. In 1946 Nankai University became to be  financed by the State, and was divided into 4 schools and 16 departments apart  from the Economic Institute, Institute of Applied Chemistry, and Research Center  of Frontier Humanities. More famous professors came to lecture, Wu Daren, Wang  Yuzhe, Bian Zhilin, to name a few.

After 1949 Nankai opened a new page  in its history. It has long been given much attention by the central government.  Chairman Mao wrote the name for Nankai University in 1950 and came to Nankai for  inspection in 1958, while Premier Zhou Enlai came to Nankai successively in  1951, 1957 and 1959. Chinese top leaders like Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Zhu Rongji,  Wen Jiabao and Jia Qinglin all came to Nankai for inspection.

In 1952  after the reshuffling of organizations in universities, Nankai University became  a comprehensive university of Arts and Sciences, with 14 departments and 3  professional specialties in total. Since then, such scholars as Zheng Tianting,  Lei Haizong, Wu Tingqiu, Li Helin, Zhu Weizhi, Jiang Ancai, Chen Renlie, Li  Jiye, JI Taoda, Gu Changdong, Wen Gongyi, Zeng Dinghe and Yang Zongpan were  transferred successively to Nankai and a group of overseas scholars came to join  Nankai, such as Wang Ganyu, He Binglin, Chen Rongti, Chen Ruyu, Chen Tianchi,  Wang Jitao, and Yan Zhida.

From 1966 to 1976 the School's normal life  was out of order due to the Cultural Revolution. Even worse, in 1976 a  catastrophic earthquake broke out in Tangshan bordering Tianjin, causing damages  of varying degrees to the School's buildings.

However, Nankai University  soon stepped into a new era after China's Open and Reform policy. After 1980, in  order to meet the demands for socialist modernization, the School added a batch  of new specialties and institutes. In Arts, applied specialties on financing  were set up and the School of Economics was reopened in 1983, while in Sciences,  interdisciplinary, marginal and high and new technological specialties were  added. By the late 1980s, Nankai University had grown to be a comprehensive  university embracing Humanities, Natural Sciences, Applied Sciences, Life  Sciences, Managements and Art.

In 1994 Tianjin Foreign Trade College was  incorporated into Nankai University.
In the past few years, to cater to  demands of fast social economic development, the University has created various  brand-new modes of running school which have extended its education far into all  walks of life. In 1999 under the combined efforts of Nankai University and TEDA,  TEDA College was set up, which was entitled the SAR of higher education. In 2000  the State Ministry of Education signed an agreement with Tianjin Municipal  Government on jointly establishing and developing Nankai University.  Experimental cooperation between Nankai University and Tianjin University was  initiated on the principle of independent school-running and close cooperation.  In 2002 under the cooperative efforts of Nankai University, Shen Zhen Municipal  Government and UC Berkeley, Financial Engineering College was established in  Shenzhen. In 2003 Nankai University joined with Dagang District government of  Tianjin to set up Binhai College.

In 2002 the University laid down  objectives for the few years to come. By 2010 Nankai University will have been  developed into a comprehensive, research-oriented and creative high-level  university with appropriate scale, reasonable structure and unique characters.  Given a considerable improvement in education, research and administration,  Nankai will become the stronghold for providing original talents, scientific and  technological innovation and serving economic and social development. Given some  other Five-year Plans, by the mid of 21st century, the University will have been  listed among the world universities of first order.
To achieve these  objectives, the University has devised a development philosophy of excellence,  powerfulness and characteristics and five strategies are taken in force to  enhance its core competitiveness, that is, talent strategy, leading specialty  strategy, education quality improvement strategy, scientific and technological  innovation strategy and internationalization strategy.

He Lian, Yang  Shixian, Zang Boping, Teng Weizao, Mu Guoguang, Hou Zixin and Rao Zihe succeeded to the  President of Nankai University after Zhang Boling. The present President is Gong Ke.


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