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Origin of SJTU Anniversary Day

April 11, 2020      Author: Ling Hui

Hello everyone, welcome to the stories of Shanghai Jiaotong university. Today, you are going to hear about the Origin of SJTU Anniversary Day.

The application for the establishment of Nanyang College was approved in October, 1896, but how come our anniversary day is on April 8th?

In February, 1896, the founder of SJTU, Sheng Xuanhuai started to set up the college, which was called Nanyang College at the beginning. In October, he handed in the application to the emperor in Qing Dynasty, Guangxu. In December, it was approved.

At that time, qualified teachers were needed in terms of the development of new style education in China. Nanyang College set up Normal Department to cultivate and train students who would be able to conduct courses after their graduation to fill the teaching positions.

On March, 2nd, Students' Enrollment advertisement had been posted in Shanghai News ( Shen Bao) for eleven consecutive days. Preferential policies became a great attraction to nationwide applicants, promising to provide free books, meals, tuition and accommodation, allowance allocated based on academic performance, opportunities to study abroad, scholarships and etc.

From March to April, 1897, Sheng Xuanhuai supervised the enrollment exams in person and thirty students were officially selected and enrolled. They were regarded as the first group of students formally recruited and would be trained to be teachers in Chinese contemporary educational history.

On April 8th, 1897, the class began, thus, the date of university anniversary was settled in this way in 1930's. Although, the first university anniversary celebration was held on April 26th, 1917, April 8th has been fixed as the exact date since the 37th university anniversary in1933. On this day, usually on the first Saturday or Sunday after 8th, alumni return to the campus to attend the ceremony and all kinds of activities, and present their gratitude to the university.

On April 9th, 2016, among all the returned alumni, 120 couples who all graduated from the university became a highlight. Some of the alumni are over one hundred years old now, such as Fei Henian, Xu Manqian and her husband, who graduated here in 1938 and 1940 respectively.

That's why our university anniversary day is on April 8th.

More historical stories about SJTU are on the way to come. Please stay in tune.


Translated  by Fang Fang      Reviewed by Wang Bingyu