Spotlight

Ni Jun
Zhang Guangdou

Ni Jun received his bachelor's degree from SJTU School of Mechanical Engineering with excellent results in 1982 and pursued his doctor's degree as one of the government-sponsored students at University of Wisconsin, America.

From 1989, Ni Jun was working on his PhD at University of Michigan for two years under the guidance of SJTU alumnus Prof. Shien-Ming Wu, the leading authority in mechanical manufacturing engineering.

Ni Jun was named the Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) when he was just 30 years old. One year later, at the sudden death of Prof. Wu, Ni was entrusted with the mission of managing the S.M.Wu Manufacturing Research Center (WuMRC). He received the Presidential Professor Award in the United States at 33 years old and became the lifetime full professor of University of Michigan three years later.

Meanwhile, under Ni Jun's management, S.M. Wu Manufacturing Research Center has become the biggest research center in the field of machinery manufacturing in the US. Furthermore, Prof. Ni also undertakes the job in the University-Industry Joint Research Center of National Science Foundation, US (NSF) and more than 40 major research projects funded by the Big Three American Auto Companies, the Boeing Company, the US Airforce and NSF.

However, the matter of how to make contributions to his country has always been on Ni Jun's mind while he is engaged in academic research and the great deeds of Prof. Wu serves as a model that inspires him to fulfill his ideal.

In 1998, the Cheung Kong Scholar Program was set up by the Ministry of Education and Hong Kong entrepreneur Li Ka-shing. Ni Jun was engaged as SJTU Chair Professor of "Cheung Kong Scholars Program" in 1999. Henceforth, he travels tirelessly between the Pacific Ocean, which got him the nickname "flying professor".

The research center at University of Michigan (UM), under the charge of Ni Jun has received 40 young teachers from SJTU School of Mechanical Engineering. He provided financial aid to 12 students from SJTU for their doctoral study, and at the same time, he also supervised seven postgraduates and ten PhD candidates at SJTU.

For the past ten years, what Prof. Ni has done is enough to astonish his peers. He has been promoting the collaboration between SJTU and UM, the two world-renowned universities, from setting up an international pilot class composed of only 30 plus students to establishing a first-class international institute made up of thousands of students-UM-SJTU Joint Institute, which introduces and carries out the complete international education system and training mode. Ni Jun once said: "Chinese students are excellent, and as long as they are cultivated with advanced education, they are bound to be world elites. And my dream is to provide education of world quality to Chinese students in China."

In 2007 UM-SJTU Joint Institute initiated the world recruitment program and attracted more than 900 scholars from prestigious universities and institutes all over the globe to apply. Up until now, over 260 students from the Joint Institute have gone to UM to finish their undergraduate dual degree. Whenever it comes to the performance of SJTU students, a slight smile will lighten Ni Jun's face: SJTU students are doing quite well at UM, and they all get full credit or nearly full credit. Nowadays, UM-SJTU Joint Institute has established its reputation at home and abroad.

Due to the long-time work and life in America, Ni Jun has become a US citizen. However, his gratitude and love toward his motherland as descendant has never decreased. Ni often jokingly says: someone told me that I may undergo a hard time for the nationality, but I consider myself as an ambassador who builds the bridge of high education between the two nations and make my contributions to the world. 


-- Translated by Zhang Shuang