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President is the Forerunner of a University
Author:Xiaohong Li  Date:2014-04-08  Clicks:

Universities often strive to meet societies expectation of their being sacred temples and beacons for cultural development. A president of a university must acts as a forerunner of these goals, representing the university and its ideology. Therefore, a university president should be a master of politics, management and pedagogy. He should not only devote himself to optimizing the educational environment and planning development strategies but also spare no effort to raising funds and balancing internal and external relationships. A university president may not be an expert in one field of academia, but he should understand education, be acquainted with politics, and be capable of leading a university’s scientific development. As President of Wuhan University I have pursued this identity while unceasingly committing myself to the university.

In December 2010, I took the office of president of Wuhan University. Thereafter, my top priority was to familiarize myself with the situation at Wuhan University, while adapting my role and thinking mode. I had served as president of Chongqing University, a university strong in engineering, for 8 years, but it was a new challenge for me to lead a comprehensive university with fame, history and great potential. On my arrival to Wuhan University, I met with senior leaders, professors, scholars and also various departmental groups, research institutions and municipal government officials. After intensive and extensive investigation of Wuhan University, I was deeply impressed by its own greatness and profoundness, the uncountable hidden talents found among students and teachers, government’s high expectations of the university’s possibilities, and finally its faculty and students’ eagerness to love it, strengthen it and enliven it. Thus, I recognized that it was necessary to unite and encourage everyone who wanted Wuhan University’s rejuvenation and development, and this goal became a centerpiece of my agenda.

I believe, only development can boost our morale. When I was transferred to Wuhan University, I was honored to take part in celebrating the 10th anniversary of Wuhan University amalgamation. After broadly soliciting opinions, the university leadership established the goal of building Wuhan University as world-class university with Chinese characteristics through a strategy including balancing the internal and external relations and balancing the relation between development and people’s livelihood. We have done work in enhancing our core competitiveness, improving our educational quality, optimizing our development environment, gaining the support from the government and society, and serving national and local development interests. In 2011, we added 5 new academicians, introduced up and coming scholars and made remarkable achievements in scientific research and projects. We have already made big strides in overall development and greatly improved the campus environment and the living condition for students and staff, while the whole university has grown full of vigor and ambition.

As early as 1929, our former president Wang Shijie once proposed that Wuhan University should take on its new responsibility as a cultural hub. Its 119-year history is actually a history of pursuing and achieving this goal. At the opening ceremony for freshmen of 2011, I told students my dream about Wuhan University: In 2043, at Wuhan University’s 150th anniversary, it will be developed into a world top university where great masters and experts gather, where prominent achievements in humanistic thought and outstanding scientific and technological accomplishments add radiance to each other, and a university whose name will be included among rankings of the world’s most famous universities for its remarkable contribution to the great rejuvenation of Chinese nation and human progress. This is also the dream for Wuhan University faculty and students. As the president of Wuhan University, I will serve as the forerunner of pursuing this grand dream.

(translated by Chunhua Mei, edited by Sijia Hu & Yoni)

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