Home > About SYSU > University History > Historical Figures - ZOU Lu

Historical Figures - ZOU Lu

Last updated :2012-11-10

Mr. ZOU Lu and the Shipai Campus of the National Guangdong University

In January 1924, the 1st National Congress of the National Party was held in Guangzhou, which made the cooperation between the National party and the Communist party a reality. In order to strengthen his political power, Mr. Yat-sen Sun issued an order to found the Ground Force Military Academy of Huangpu, with an aim to train more personnel for the revolution. On 4th February 1924, He also issued two orders: one was “to combine the National Normal University, the Law College of Guangdong Province and the Agricultural College of Guangdong Province into the National Guangdong University”, another was “to appoint Mr. Zou Lu as the preparatory director of the National Guangdong University”. In June 1924, Mr. Sun Yat-sen issued another order to “appoint Mr. Zhou as the president of the National Guangdong University”.

In order to strengthen the administration of the National Guangdong University, the Preparatory Committee of the university formulated the regulations of the National Guangdong University. According to the regulations, the Guangdong Normal University was restructured as the Division of Arts and the Division of Sciences the Law College of Guangdong Province was restructured as the Division of Law, the Public Agricultural College of Guangdong Province was restructured as the Division of Agriculture. In addition, the university also had the Division of Preparatory School, the Affiliated Secondary School and the Affiliated Primary School. In July 1925, the Public Medical College of Guangdong Province was incorporated into the National Guangdong University as the Division of Medicine.

All the Divisions were located in different places within Guangzhou, such as the Wenming Road and the Fazheng Road. After the National Guangdong University was founded, Mr. Sun Yat-sen suggested to move all the divisions to Shipai, the eastern suburb of Guangzhou, where it was quieter for the students and also better for university administration. Because of frequently-erupted wars and financial difficulties, there was no development plan for the new campus. However, the Second Farm of the Division of Agriculture was developed there.

On 12th March 1925, Mr. Sun Yat-sen died in Beijing. In memory of this great politician, on 17th August 1925, the National Government issued an order to rename the National Guangdong University as the National Sun Yat-sen University. In 1928, the government decided to develop the new campus at Shipai. By 1936, the campus area of the university was extended to more than 12,100 mu (excluding forest farms).

In February 1932, Mr. Zou was appointed as the President of the National Sun Yat-sen University for the second time. He started to work out a plan for constructing the new campus at Shipai. He aimed at building a campus “not only advanced in China, but also in every parts of the world.” Based on this target, Mr. Zou drafted a three-phase construction plan for the new campus, lasting for six years.

Most of the funding for the construction of Shipai Campus of the National Sun Yat-sen University came from the fund-raising activities both at home and abroad. In regards to the hardships of fundraising, Mr. Zou noted in his memoirs, “Words can’t tell the plight at that time. I told my students that I would do anything to raise funds for the new campus except kowtowing. This is no joking remark. This is just what happened”.

The new Shipai Campus of the National Sun Yat-sen University was well laid out with each division located at its specific area. This left ample space for future development. The Chinese style of the magnificent, palace-like buildings was highly praised all around the world. Nowadays, these buildings are listed as one of the Cultural Relics of Guangzhou.

Mr. ZOU Lu’s University Administration

From February 1932 to March 1940, Mr. Zou had been the president of the National Sun Yat-sen University. On the one hand, he was busy overseeing the construction of the new Shipai campus; on the other, he paid great attention to employing more personnel and developing start-of-art disciplines.

On 1st February 1932, Mr. Zou was officially appointed as the president of the National Sun Yat-sen University. Soon, he started the work of employing specialists in various disciplines as professors of the university. As the then deputy president Mr. XU Congqing was dismissed, quite a number of professors left the National Sun Yat-sen University. There was a serious shortage of faculty in the university. The National Sun Yat-sen University Daily reported that Mr. Zou, immediately after his appointment, employed many new professors, while persuading old professors to stay in the university. These include SHEN Gangbo,  ZHOU Gucheng, ZHU Xianzhen, YANG Dong, HUANG Kutong, LUO Yanzhong and ZHANG Zuoren.

Because of Mr. Zou’s strenuous efforts, a lot of distinguished specialists were employed by the university. Some of them had been elected as academic committee members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences such as CHEN Huanyong, LIANG Boqiang, DING Ying , LUO Zongluo, ZHU Xian, SI Xingjian, SUN Yunzou and YANG Zunyi. Mr. Gucheng Zhou had been the Vice Chairman of National People’s Congress.

In March 1935, the Ministry of Education authorized Tsinghua University, Peking University and the National Sun Yat-sen University to establish research institutes. This had made the National Sun Yat-sen University one of the three research universities in China at that time. This was not only due to the efforts of Mr. Zou’s predecessors, but also due to Mr. Zou’s hard work, especially in developing state-of-art disciplines for the university.

The research institute was structured into many divisions such as the Division of Literature and History, the Division of Education and the Division of Agriculture. The predecessors of various divisions of the institute are well-known both at home and abroad. For example, the Institute of Historical Linguistics, predecessor of the Division of Literature and History, was established by famous historians FU Sinian and GU Jiegang in January 1928. Its publications the Institute of Historical Linguistics Weekly and Folk Customs had far-reaching implications in the academic community. In October 1930, the institute was closed due to financial difficulties of the university during the administration of Principal ZHU Jiahua . When Mr. Zou was appointed as the principal of the National Sun Yat-sen University, he started to reestablish the institute as the Institute of Literature and History, i.e., a division within the research institute of the university. In November 1932, Professor ZHU Xizu was appointed as director of the division. He reestablished the Society of Folk Customs and continued to publish the weekly magazine Folk Customs. The division also offered postgraduate courses in the field of literature and history.

The Institute of Education, predecessor of the Division of Education, was founded in February 1928. It is one of the earliest educational institutes in the country. It was established by Professor ZHUANG Zexuan, a famous educationalist. The institute published a monthly journal Educational Research and also many book series in the field of education. The institute made great efforts in academic exchange and cooperation with other famous educational institutions. It also exchanged publications with more than 150 academic institutions from 20 countries.

The Institute of Agriculture and Forestry, predecessor of the Division of Agriculture, was founded by Professor CHEN Huanyong, a famous botanist. Prof. Chen was one of the first botanists to attend international conferences in this field. He was a Chinese member of the International Special Committee of Plant Nomenclature.

The Institute of Soil Sciences was incorporated into the National Sun Yat-sen University in 1932. Mr. Zou appointed Professor DENG Zhiyi as the director of the institute. Professor Deng led many researchers to investigate the soil condition in Guangdong province, in order to provide sound basis for the reasonable use and improvement of soil resource in the province. Professor Deng himself also made a lot of scientific investigations not only in Guangdong province, but also in other parts of the country. He made great achievements in the discipline. When the research institute of the National Sun Yat-sen University was established, Mr. Zou restructured the Institute of Soil Sciences as part of the Division of Agriculture. It is one of the earliest academic institutions in soil sciences.