Tsinghua University Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary & LIANG Sicheng’s 110th Birthday
From a “Preparatory School for Overseas Study in USA” that was set up in 1911 to a modern comprehensive university, Tsinghua University has been established for 100 years until 2011. As an important base for higher education and scientific and technological studies in China, Tsinghua University has cultivated a great many academic, industrial, and political elites for the country. Among those who graduated from or used to work at the university, 330 are members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 144 are members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, 14 are winners of “Two Bombs and One Satellite (atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb, and artificial satellite) Medal,” and over 280 are administrative leaders above the provincial and ministerial level, among which 9 used to be or are currently a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. With 16 colleges and 56 departments, Tsinghua University is now an open, comprehensive, and research-oriented university, covering the disciplines of sciences, engineering, literature, arts, history, philosophy, economics, management, law, education, medicine, etc.
Apr. 24 this year marked the 100th anniversary for the establishment of Tsinghua University. The university held several large activities to celebrate this special occasion. On Apr. 22, the 54th “MA Yuehan” Student Games of Tsinghua University was held, during which students and teachers performed a group gym show titled “Tsinghua Eulogy” to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the university. On the same day, the new Tsinghua University History Museum funded by alumni was officially opened, which served as one of the anniversary celebration buildings together with the concert hall and the library for humanistic and social sciences. In the museum, the exhibition on the university’s 100 years of development that had been prepared for five years will be permanent. On Apr. 23, as another important activity day for the celebration of the anniversary, the Global Summit of University Presidents 2011 was held, which was attended by more than 100 presidents of well-known universities from all over the world, and a heated discussion on the theme of “Global Social-Economic Development and Higher Education” was carried out (see Fig. 1). And on Apr. 24, the Celebration Conference for the 100th Anniversary of Tsinghua University was held at the Great Hall of the People, and party and state leaders including HU Jintao, WU Bangguo, WEN Jiabao, JIA Qinglin, XI Jinping, LI Keqiang, et al., attended the conference. During the conference, HU Jintao, the President of the State, General Secretary of the CPC, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivered a keynote speech. On Apr. 29 and 30, a large group wedding was held in the campus of Tsinghua University, during which nearly 400 couples who are staff members, students or alumni of the university got married.
About 50 thousand alumni from home and abroad returned to the university to participate in the celebration. Among them, the oldest alumni included those who graduated from Tsinghua nearly 60 years ago. Meanwhile, several important alumni also returned to their schools to recall the past and project on the future. President HU Jintao had studied and worked at the Department of Water Conservancy in Tsinghua for nine years. On his return visit to Tsinghua on Apr. 20, he expressed his expectation that Tsinghua University could take its centennial anniversary as a new starting point, fight for a position among the world’s top universities, and foster more outstanding talents for the country. Further, WU Bangguo, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, who is also an alumnus of Tsinghua, visited the university on Mar. 7 to inspect the teaching and research activities, learn about teachers and students’ lives, and congratulate the university on its 100th anniversary. And the former Premier ZHU Rongji was not only a student at Tsinghua, but also the former head of the School of Economics and Management. He paid a visit to Tsinghua on Apr. 22, and expressed that the school is “the land of woods and waters and a life-giving spring breeze and rain,” which had educated him to make him never forget.
In his speech at the Celebration Conference for the 100th Anniversary of Tsinghua University, President HU Jintao expressed his sincere congratulations to all the students, staff, and alumni of Tsinghua. After recalling the 100 years of development of Tsinghua University, HU Jintao spoke highly of the achievements that Tsinghua University has accomplished. HU shared his experiences from Tsinghua and pointed out that the youthful spirit, rigorous studying atmosphere, plain life style, and colorful cultural activities had laid deep influences on him and his fellow schoolmates. He stressed that as an important combination of science and technology and talent pool, higher education plays a significant role in a country’s development. And the development of Tsinghua proves that “as long as we adhere to the principles of freeing our mind, seeking truth from facts, keeping pace with the time, and taking the national prosperity and thriving and the progress of human kind as our responsibility, insist upon a proper education direction while following the rules of higher education and being human-oriented, emphasize quality education and carry out reforms and renovations, our universities will gain access to the powerful driving force for their development and be able to deliver outstanding talents who have both ability and moral integrity.”
According to the development strategy that Tsinghua publicized lately, the university is determined to “make still further progress,” aiming at occupying a position among the world’s top universities within 10 years. GU Binglin, President of Tsinghua University, holds that though there is no definition and standard for “world’s top universities,” international recognition for academic achievement, contribution, and reputation is quite necessary. Therefore, by 2020, Tsinghua University will strive to “make or keep its advantageous disciplines in the front ranks of the world, narrow down the gap between the world’s top universities and Tsinghua in primary education indexes, and further promote the social reputation and international influence of Tsinghua.”
As one of the “100 Academic Activities” for the 100th anniversary celebration of the university, the Commemoration Conference for the 110th Birthday of LIANG Sicheng and a related academic seminar was held at the Tsinghua Auditorium on Apr. 20, 2011 (see Fig. 2).
In 1946, LIANG Sicheng established and led the Department of Architecture of Tsinghua University. He had profound knowledge on architecture of both the Orient and the Occident, as well as both the ancient and the modern; he was a patriot and was determined to serve his country while retaining an international point of view; he was open-minded, talented, strict in academic studies, and had a unique perspective for the development of the discipline and for talents training. His view on education was far and high, laying profound influences not only on the development of Tsinghua University, but also on the modern architectural education system in China, as well as the social recognition for the discipline in the country.
By insisting upon the research of ancient Chinese architecture, LIANG Sicheng laid down a sound foundation for the study of China’s architecture history. He was awarded the highest national scientific research awards, the National Natural Science Prize, for his remarkable achievements in his study of the architecture history and historic heritage protection in China. Out of his in-depth understanding of Chinese culture and tradition, as well as his feelings for Beijing and sense of responsibility for the country’s future, LIANG Sicheng, together with CHEN Zhanxiang, formulated Suggestions on the Location of the Central Administrative Area in Beijing for the Central Government. All of LIANG’s works are of high historical value and have become a cultural heritage that should be protected, studied, and inherited by later generations.
GU Binglin, President of Tsinghua University, SHAN Jixiang, Head of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, CHEN Gang, Deputy Mayor of Beijing Municipality, and ZHOU Ganzhi, Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, attended the conference and delivered speeches. And WU Liangyong, Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, LIN Zhu, wife of LIANG Sicheng, HU Jincao, editor from China Central Television, CHEN Wei, professor from Southeast University, and WANG Guixiang and QIN Youguo, professors from Tsinghua University attended the academic seminar and delivered speeches.
Meanwhile, the ceremony for the unveiling of the bronze statue of LIANG Sicheng in the Museum of Society for the Research in Chinese Architecture and the release of Chinese Architecture: Art and Artifacts that was published by Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press was also held. In addition, the Photo Exhibition for the 110th Birthday of LIANG Sicheng was held around the same time at the School of Architecture of Tsinghua University.
As many as 800 people, including scholars in the architecture field, heads of different architecture schools, relatives of LIANG Sicheng, teachers and students of the School of Architecture of Tsinghua University, returning alumni, and reporters from over 20 media, also attended the conference.