Fudan University was established in 1905 as Fudan Public School. It was the first institution of higher education to be founded by a Chinese person, renowned modern educator Ma Xiangbo. The school’s name was chosen from the “Biography of Yuxia” in the Classic of History (《尚书大传 虞夏传》), where the two characters fù复 (“return”) and dàn旦 (“dawn”) are found in the famous lines “Brilliant are the sunshine and moonlight, again the morning glory after the night,” signifying continuous self-renewal, and expressing the hope that China could become a country with a strong higher education system run by Chinese intellectuals. In 1917 the name was changed from Fudan Public School to Fudan Private School; in 1937 after the outbreak of the Anti-Japanese War, the school moved to Beipei in Chongqing, and in 1941 it became state-run; in 1946 it moved back to its original location in Jiangwan, Shanghai. After the nationwide restructuring of institutions of higher education in 1952, Fudan University became a comprehensive university of arts and sciences; in 1959 it became one of the first National Key Universities along with Shanghai First Medical College (later known as Shanghai Medical University).
Shanghai Medical University was founded in 1927. It was the first medical school to be founded by a Chinese person. It was originally named Fourth Sun Yat-sen University Medical College.
Fudan University was merged with Shanghai Medical University in 2000, forming a new, stronger Fudan University with a broader set of disciplines: medicine, sciences, and arts. As one of the first participants in the 211 and 985 Projects, Fudan has developed into a comprehensive research university, with Departments of Philosophy, Economics, Law, Education, Literature, History, Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Management.
Fudan is home to 14,100 undergraduates and associate degree candidates, 14,800 graduates including 3000 foreign degree candidates, 2,700 staff and 3,100 full-time teaching faculty members. Fudan hosts 39 members of Chinese Academy of Science and members of Chinese Academy of Engineering, 99 Chair Professors of Chang Jiang Scholars Program, and 30 National Key Basic Research Program of China (also named “973 Program”) PIs. There are 28 schools and independent departments with 70 bachelor degree programs, 35 doctoral degree programs of Level I academic disciplines, 154 doctoral degree programs, 224 master degree programs, and 29 post-doctoral programs. There are 11 Level I national key academic disciplines and 19 Level II national key academic disciplines. Fudan hosts around 300 research institutes including 5 national key labs, 38 ministerial or provincial key labs and engineering centers, 5 “Project 985” Science and Technology Innovation Platforms and 7 “Project 985” Arts and Social Sciences Innovation Bases.
The campus is laid out as a main area consisting of the Handan Street Campus and Jiangwan New Campus areas, along with two side campuses, Fenglin Campus and Zhangjiang Campus, covering a total area of 2.4432 square kilometers. The total area of all school buildings is 1.4923 square kilometers. Eleven hospitals are also affiliated with the school, including Zhongshan Hospital and Huashan Hospital, with a total of 15,000 doctors, nurses, and personnel.
Fudan University celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2005. Chinese president Hu Jintao sent a letter of congratulations, expressing his hopes that the school will continue its tradition of excellence while developing and innovating into the future, building itself into a world-class comprehensive university, fostering development of persons of talent, ability, and integrity, and putting forth a new, even greater contribution towards building a prosperous society and realizing the Chinese people’s great revival.
Over the past hundred years, the school has made outstanding contributions to the country by developing talent, innovating in science and technology, carrying forward civilization, and serving society. Students and teachers of Fudan always keep in mind the school motto “Rich in knowledge and tenacious of purposes, inquiring with earnestness and reflecting with self-practice,” maintain the school spirit of “civilized, healthy, united, rousing,” practice the school traditions of being “hard working, rigorous, result-oriented, and innovative,” and develop the Fudan spirit of “patriotic service, academic independence, a diversity of approaches, and pursuit of excellence.” They make great contributions to the liberation and development of the people, the construction and development of the nation, and the civilization and progress of society.