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Lin Jianhua appointed new president of Peking University

Peking University, Feb 15, 2015: Lin Jianhua has been named as president of Peking University, succeeding Wang Enge, whose tenure ran for approximately two years.


Lin Jianhua becomes Peking University’s 27th president in its 117-year history, and also the third new president since 2008. He is also the first president of Peking University without the title of an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in about 20 years.



He was the president of Zhejiang University prior to his appointment at Peking University, and also had a three-year spell at Chongqing University. His time as a university student, however, went back to the school he is about to take to a new chapter. A student of Chemistry, he studied at Peking University’s College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering (CCME) for his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctor’s degrees. He went on to teach at the same college and became dean in 1998. He had been doing research at Stuttgart’s Max-Plank Institute of Solid State Chemistry Research, Iowa University’s Department of Chemistry and the Ames National Laboratory. Focused on inorganic solid state chemistry and inorganic material Chemistry, he published over 80 papers and was editor of a number of chemistry magazines.


He began his administrative work at Peking University in 2001, rising to the position of executive vice-president in 2004. His image of an active reformer first started to emerge during his time as dean of CCME and later, dean of Academics at Peking University.


As dean of CCME, he implemented a series of reforms in attracting young talents, improving discipline construction and establishing the PI (Principal Investigator) mechanism, which enhanced the influence of the College both in and out of Peking University. As he realized that faculties at Peking University pay too much attention to research and not enough effort is made in the classroom, he started to encourage faculties to teach more courses in order to further improve undergraduate education and spend more time guiding undergraduate dissertations.


When he became executive vice-president, Lin devoted much of his efforts to amentorship program that pairs up professors with freshmen, a further step in his reforms of undergraduate education. He promoted the combination of medicine and science and engineering, built the multi-interdisciplinary and established a number of research centers and institutes such as Biodynamic Optical Imaging Center (BIOPIC). He also contributed to the re-establishment of the College of Engineering, an important step in the direction of building a world-class educational institution that Peking University has always been striving for.


Lin left Peking University in 2010 and assumed the role of president at Chongqing University. He encountered a lot of controversies during that spell and three years later, when he was to be installed as president of Zhejiang University. However, his supporters have been vocal as well. Praise for his effort in improving campus facilities, enhancing undergraduate education and many others have been abundant.


Despite all the controversies, Lin’s reputation as a shrewd reformer with impressive man-management skills has never been tarnished. His role in the establishment of numerous academic institutions and mechanisms in an attempt to revamp and renovate the educational system during his previous stay at Peking University is the proof of his abilities. Teachers and students at Zhejiang University described him as “a man who knows what he is doing, and focuses on recruiting top talents”.


At the meeting of Peking University’s faculties this morning, Lin spoke of his gratefulness for outgoing President Wang Enge, and also of the tremendous changes Peking University has undergone during his four years away from his beloved school. He reiterated that the ultimate pursuit of a university is for “truth”. “University has the responsibility to facilitate a relaxing and free academic atmosphere.” Lin said, “Peking University is like a family in my heart. Teachers or students, president or deans, nobody’s noble or humble, no schools of thought are amicable or unfriendly to each other. Everybody should have equal status and discuss academic problems and the development of the university in a composed manner.” He also talked about how universities should toe the line of the law, and adhere closely to the core values of socialism.


Universities in China are no longer satisfied in its own small arena. They crave for competition with the world’s best academic institutions. At a time when Peking University attempts to lead the way and overcome its bottle-neck, a president with a clear line of logic and a reform-thinking brain is more than needed. It is the sincere hope of all students and faculties that President Lin will take the responsibility and establish Peking University among the world’s elites.


Reported by: Xu Liangdi

Edited by: Zhang Jiang