China / Government

Peking University president named

By Luo Wangshu (Chin Daily) Updated: 2015-02-16 07:53

Peking University president named

Wang En'ge, former Peking University president (left), greets his successor, Lin Jianhua, on Sunday. Wang Tiantian / for China Daily

Lin Jianhua was named the 27th president of Peking University on Sunday.

Lin, a chemist who served as president of Zhejiang University since June 2013, succeeds Wang En'ge, who led PKU for less than two years.

"The university is a platform for the communication of knowledge and innovation. ... A good academic environment can inspire creative and innovative ideas, which universities are responsible for," Lin said at his inauguration ceremony on Sunday.

PKU, established in 1898, is one of the country's top universities, is often viewed as a fountainhead of avant-garde thinking that is tied to modern China's development.

Scholars known worldwide, including Cai Yuanpei, Jiang Menglin, Hu Shih and Ma Yinchu have led the university.

Jiang Menglin served the longest presidency at PKU - 15 years, from 1930 to 1945. Mao Zedong was a librarian at PKU during Jiang's tenure.

Lin, 59, unlike his processors, spent nearly 30 years at PKU before rising to the presidency. A native of Shandong province, he entered PKU in 1978, earning bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in chemistry before starting his teaching and research career in 1986.

After spending five years in Germany and the United States, from 1988 to 1993, conducting postdoctoral research, Lin returned to PKU as an associate professor in 1993. He served in a variety of posts from 1995 to 2010: professor of chemistry, dean of the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, provost and executive vice-president of PKU. He led Chongqing University from 2010 to 2013 after leaving PKU.

He was appointed president of Zhejiang University in June 2013 and held that post until returning to lead PKU.

Lin's presidencies at Chongqing and Zhejiang universities triggered controversy. He was questioned by anonymous faculty members on the online platform at Chongqing criticizing him for being too idealistic and for how much he spent to recruit faculty members overseas to return to CQU. Lin's fans, on the other hand, believe he is a reformer.

Lin's inauguration as president of Zhejiang University drew some questions from university alumni. An open letter signed by 53 leading alumni called for a person of "integrity" to be the university's president in June 2013, when Lin was named to the position.

The presidency of PKU is a vice-minister-level position.

The future of Lin's processor Wang En'ge, a physicist, 58, has not been announced, though he is said to be a candidate to lead the Ministry of Science and Technology.