April 5th, 2009
The school has its origins in one of the four famous academies of the Song Dynasty, the Yuelu Academy established in the 9th year of the reign of the Song Emperor Kaibao [Historians! Help! How should that name be translated?] (976 AD), which witnessed the trends and changes of such dynasties as the Song, Ming and Qing, preserving along the way the continuity of culture and education. In 1903 Yuelu Academy was reformed to become Hunan School of Higher Learning, setting its name as Hunan University in 1926. In 1937 it became one of the dozen state-established universities of the Republican government’s Ministry of Education. Following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the famous philospher and educator Li Da became Hunan University’s first post-Liberation president, and Chairman Mao wrote the school’s name with his own hand.
Indeed, Hunan University has a collossal statue of Mao on its campus, and I do remember seeing signs proclaiming its 1000th anniversary in 1976. Anyway, I like their logic, and I like how the history of Yuelu Academy has been claimed as Hunan University’s own.