Xiamen University (XMU, Latin: Universitas Amoiensis, Chinese: 厦门大学; pinyin: Xiàmén Dàxué; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ē-mn̂g Tāi-ha̍k), colloquially known as Xia Da (Chinese: 厦大; pinyin: Xià Dà), located in Xiamen, Fujian province, is the first university in China founded by overseas Chinese. Established by Mr. Tan Kah Kee in 1921, the university was originally known as the University of Amoy. The school motto is "Pursue Excellence, Strive for Perfection (自强不息, 止于至善)". The university is one of many comprehensive universities directly administered by the Chinese Ministry of Education. In 1995 it was included in the list of the 211 Project for the state key construction; in 2000 it became one of China’s higher-level universities designated for the state key construction of the 985 Project.
According to University Undergraduates Teaching Assessment and Chinese Universities Evaluation Standings, the university is ranked 11th in China and has maintained the top 20 ranking in China, among which 6 subjects reach A++ level, including economics and management,fine art, law, chemistry, journalism, communication and mathematics.
Statue of Mr. Tan Kah Kee, in front of his memorial hall located in Xiamen University.
Statue of Chen Jingrun, Xiamen University
Jiannan Auditorium of Xiamen University
Xiamen University Playground
Xiamen University Campus with "Kah Kee" building complex in the center and student dorms in the foreground
In 1919 Mr. Tan Kah Kee (陳嘉庚; pinyin: Chen Jiageng), the well-known overseas Chinese leader, donated millions of dollars to establish and endow Xiamen University, officially founded in 1921. It is regarded as one of the most prestigious and selective universities in China.
Mr. Tan handed over Xiamen University to the government in 1937 due to lack of funds, and the institution subsequently became a national university.
At the end of World War II in 1946, Xiamen University moved back to Xiamen and resumed normal operations.
In 1952, Xiamen University became a comprehensive university, and has been designated as a national key university since 1962.
Then, in 1952 it became a comprehensive university embracing both arts and science. In 1963, it was designated as a state key university. In 1995, it was included in the list of the “211 Project” for the state key construction; in 2000, it became one of China’s higher-level universities designated for the state key construction of the “985 Project”.
Xiamen University has long been considered to be a "diplomatic cradle" where many children of Chinese and foreign dignitaries go for their higher level education. Although the actual reason for the high concentration of diplomatic children is unknown, it is rumored that the reason is due to the abundance of foreign national professors as well as its proximity to southern Asian countries in case of national emergencies. Various wealthy Hong Kong families also seem to like Xiamen University as a reputable place for their children.
Xiamen University's main campus is located in Siming District, southwestern Xiamen. Located at the foot of the green mountains, facing the blue ocean and surrounded by Xiamen bay. The main campus is picturesque with beautiful scenery and parks, and is one of the main tourist attractions in the heavily-touristed Xiamen. The university also has campuses at Xiang'an and Zhangzhou.
A new campus is being built in the mainland district of Xiamen, Xiang'an District. Construction began in 2011 and the first phase is scheduled to be completed in 2013. The new campus will cover 243 hectares and is expected to accommodate 30,000 students.
Xiamen University has a built area of 2.6 million square meters and its libraries (the Xiamen University Libraries) hold 3.5 million volumes. The scope and level of its high-speed information network on campus is rated at the top of all universities in China and has become one of the main nodes of CERNET2.