Hunan University (HNU) is situated in Changsha, a renowned historical and cultural city. It is adjacent to the rippling Xiangjiang River on its front and picturesque Yuelu Mountain at its back. It is reputed as an “Ancient Millenarian Academy and Famous Centennial University”.
Originated from Yuelu Academy, founded in 976 AD., HNU is an institution of higher education run at a permanent location for the longest time in China. It has maintained cultural education for thousands of years and illustrated an embodiment of China’s higher education development and rare history in the world’s higher education. HNU was reconstructed into the Hunan Institute of Higher Learning in 1903; renamed Hunan University in 1926; and was designated as one of the 16 state universities in 1937. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Li Da, a founder and early leader of the Communist Party of China, was appointed as the first president of HNU. Chairman Mao Zedong inscribed the name of the university.
In 2000, HNU and the Hunan Institute of Finance and Economics merged to form the HNU of today. Since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, HNU has been designated as a state key university and listed under the “Project 211” “Project 985” and “Project Double First-Class”. Chinese President Xi Jinping inspected HNU on September 17th, 2020. He spoke highly of personnel cultivation and cultural inheritance of the university, and put forward the critical proposition that Yuelu Academy is the origin of the ideological line “Seeking Truth from Facts” of the Party.
Carrying forward the celebrated traditions of quality education and personnel cultivation, HNU has been continuing the essence of the motto “seeking truth from facts, and daring to be pioneers” and the spirit of “to be profound, intelligent, diligent, and dedicated in the pursuit of knowledge”. In addition, it sets a general objective for cultivating leading personnel with a solid foundation, broader perspective, integrity and ability, humanistic quality, spirit of science, innovation capacity, and strong adaptability in the new era.
A number of celebrities who had made tremendous and historical contributions in Chinese history were fostered, including Wang Fuzhi, Tao Shu, Wei Yuan, He Changling, Zeng Guofan, Zuo Zongtang, Guo Songtao, Tan Sitong, Huang Xing, Cai E, Yang Changji, Mao Zedong, He Shuheng, Cai Hesen, Deng Zhongxia, and Li Da. Thirty-nine faculty and alumni members have been elected as members of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. These symbolized “the Kingdom of the Chu, the home of talents”.
HNU has 27 colleges and schools. The professional disciplines cover eleven subject categories: philosophy, economics, law, education, literature, history, science, engineering, management, medicine, and arts. A system of academic disciplines with a solid foundation of sciences, strong engineering strength, featured humanistic and social science, emerging life and medical science, and active interdisciplinary study has taken shape. HNU offers 74 undergraduate majors, 35 first-level disciplines authorized to confer master’s degrees, and 30 first-level disciplines to confer doctorates. In addition, it has 28 postdoctoral research centers. Two first-level and 14 second-level disciplines are rated at national-level key disciplines. Seven disciplines have been designated as national defense ones. Chemistry and mechanical engineering are listed as “world-class disciplines” of the Ministry of Education.
The full-time student totals more than 36,000, of which over 20,000 are undergraduates, and 16,000 are postgraduates. HNU has established cooperation relationships with over 130 overseas universities, such as Oxford, Cambridge, and the University of California, Berkeley, and enrolled international students from over 80 countries and regions. It has two 2.0 bases for top-notch student cultivation programs in basic disciplines, four national experiment and teaching demonstration centers. It was designated as one of the first batch of national demonstration universities in innovation and entrepreneurship education reform, a national model university in innovation and entrepreneurship, and a national base for practice-oriented innovation and entrepreneurship education. The Marxism School of HNU was selected as a national key school on Marxism. Since the start of the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020), HNU has won one first prize and two-second prizes of the National Teaching Achievement Award; and been approved for 17 national-level new engineering science and new liberal arts research and practice programs. Thirty-four undergraduate majors were approved as the first-batch national first-class majors, and 37 undergraduate courses were selected as the first-batch national first-class undergraduate courses. HNU students won 20 gold and silver awards in the “Internet+”, and “Challenge Cup” and its upgrading version “Chuang Qing Chun” China College Students’ Entrepreneurship Competition.
HNU has a staff of more than 4,400, of whom 2,293 are full-time teachers. There are twelve members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering; eleven members of the Academic Degree Commission under the State Council; sixty-five candidates of the state’s talents programs; twenty-five winners of the National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars; thirty-one winners of the National Science Foundation for Excellent Young Scholars; seven winners of national outstanding teacher awards; and, fourteen young and middle-aged leading talents in the Innovative Talent Promotion Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology. In addition, HNU has six innovative research groups supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and nine innovative teams recognized by the Ministry of Education and the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense. HNU has been shortlisted for the China highly cited researchers list 100 times and the global highly cited researchers list for 32 times.
Strong research lays a solid foundation for fruitful achievements. HNU has two state key laboratories; two national engineering technology research centers; one state engineering research center; three national-level international cooperation centers; one key discipline laboratory of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense; nine key laboratories and engineering research centers of the Ministry of Education; and, five discipline innovation and talent introduction bases in higher educational institutions under the Ministry of Education. Since the start of the 13th Five-year Plan period, HNU has sixteen research projects winning the national science and technology awards and played a leading role in eleven of them; nine projects being granted with the humanities and social sciences awards of the Ministry of Education. HNU has a national-level science and technology park which was approved by the Ministry of Education as one of the first batch of university bases for sci-tech research finding transformation. It has established production-education-research cooperation ties with thousands of domestic and international enterprises. Achievements have been made to tackle problems in core technical research that impede the country’s development and break the foreign monopolies on technology. Several innovative technologies have been applied in crucial fields of the national economy, including electric power, rail transit, national defense, and aerospace. The National Supercomputing Center in Changsha, the third one of its kind in China, is operated and managed by HNU. The center provides high-performance computing, big data, and AI services for nearly 2,000 higher educational institutions, research institutions, government departments, and enterprises.
Elegant landscapes and a rich cultural atmosphere are integrated into the campus. HNU is located in a national 5A-level scenic area, covering 2.41 million square meters, with the school buildings occupying 1.34 million square meters. Harmonious combinations of ancient architectural complex and modern facilities, natural sceneries, and cultural landscapes make HNU the “most poetic and picturesque university in China”.
Evolved from an ancient academy to a modern university, HNU has firmly pursued excellence and been in the front rank in China’s higher education. At this new historical starting point, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, HNU will firmly take root in China, remain devoted to building itself into a world-class university with Chinese characteristics and profound historical and cultural inheritance, and cultivating a new generation of young people capable of shouldering the mission of national rejuvenation.