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Brief History of Soochow University

Soochow University grows from the former Soochow University founded in 1900. Since 1879, the American Christian Supervisory Board has established the Buffington Institute, the Kung Hang School in Suzhou, and the Anglo-Chinese College in Shanghai. In 1900, the three schools were combined as a university, based on the Kung Hang School and located in the original place of the Buffington Institute. In December of 1900, the SMC constitution was approved, and Mr. Lin Yuezhi (the founder of The Globe) was announced as Chairman of the board, while Mr. Sun Lewen the President. Early twentieth century China’s first private university - Soochow University, was born. Since then, Soochow University, the first private university in early 20th century of China was established.

Being founded by Americans, the first 26 years of Soochow University’s history was managed by three American presidents: Sun Lewen, Ge Dalai and Wen Naishi. During this period, the funding for the school was mainly from donations and tuition fees. Teaching buildings like Lin Hall, Sun Hall, Ge Hall, dormitories for faculty and students and other facilities were built successively, and thus the university became full-scale. In terms of academic development, the university covered the areas of arts, science, medicine, theology and law (the school was in Kunshan Road, Shanghai). Besides, there were 4 attached middle schools, 23 attached primary schools, the Huihan Primary School, the Wu Dialect School and many more forming the complete Soochow University education system.

In addition to the outstanding performance in research, the university has also fostered numerous professionals for society. Soochow University adheres to the slogan of "Unto a Full Grown Man". During the May 4th Movement, the students organized the Student Union and many other student organizations, where students took part in all kinds of academic research, debates, and sports activities. The efforts of the three former presidents have built a solid foundation to the future development of the university.

In 1952, after the national adjustment of university departments, Soochow University, the Southern Jiangsu Culture and Education College and Jiangnan University merged into the Southern Normal College, later known as Jiangsu Normal College, located in the original place of Soochow University. In 1982, it was approved as Soochow University by the State Council. In 1995, Suzhou Sericulture College joined the university. In 1997, the Suzhou Silk Institute became part of the university. Today, it has developed into a well-known comprehensive university with programs in the areas of arts, science, engineering, agriculture and many others. All disciplines have coordinated well, and have grown to a considerable scale. Because of the university’s strong foundation and efforts to always improve, Soochow University has enjoyed its strong reputation both at home and abroad. In 1996, the university was approved as a national "211 Project" university.

Soochow University Museum: