Tianjin University, the first university in modern China, marked its 125th anniversary on Friday (October 2).

Founded as Peiyang University in 1895, the university was the first in China to fully adopt the western university system. Its establishment at a time when the country was reeling under great distress echoed Chinese people’s outcry demanding the revival of the nation through reform and innovation.

“Since its advent, the inherent mission of Tianjin University has been to usher in national prosperity through education,” said Li Jiajun, Party secretary of the university.

Being the pioneer in China’s higher education, the university has made significant contributions to promoting industrialization and modernization in various fields, including mining, metallurgy, petroleum, machinery, water conservancy, civil engineering, textile, chemical, aviation and electrical machinery technology.

In the 1960s, Yu Guocong, a professor at Tianjin University, developed heavy-water separation technology, laying the foundation for China’s nuclear industry. Yu’s distillation technology was also widely applied in China’s chemical engineering industry.

Graduates from the university participated in the design and construction of sports stadiums for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, impressing the world with masterpieces like the National Stadium, dubbed as “Bird’s Nest,” and the Water Cube or National Aquatics Center.

As the world set foot in the information age, Tianjin University took lead in emerging engineering education and embarked on a new journey to become a world-class university.

“This is an era calling for innovation, and an era for the creative minds to take the stage,” Jin Donghan, president of Tianjin University, said while giving the first class of fall 2020 to freshmen.

On Sept. 28, a special “birthday party” was organized in celebration of the university’s 125th anniversary. Instead of cakes and candles, a ceremony for the release of 125 major scientific problems that meet the major national strategic demands was counted as birthday gifts.

“The intention of the celebration was to let everyone fully understand the strategic significance of accelerating scientific and technological innovation and carrying forward the spirit of scientists,” said Yuan Yingjin, the vice president.

As a highland for scientific and technological research in China, the university has made many ground-breaking achievements.

Petrel-X, a Chinese underwater glider, developed by the Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao) and Tianjin University, reached a depth of 10,619 meters during a mission in July, breaking its previous world record of 8,213 meters.

The university’s brain-computer interaction test system was installed in the Tiangong-2 space lab and conducted a series of experiments in space.

The university also undertook the construction of a martian surface simulation area for landing in China’s Mars exploration program.

Tianjin University has in recent years incorporated innovation and entrepreneurship education into its curriculum. Activities such as the student science festival and the innovation and entrepreneurship forum are held to offer abundant opportunities to students.

The university will fulfill its mission, cherish its traditions and fully live up to its commitment as a cradle for talent cultivation and innovation, said Jin at a ceremony on Friday.


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