Universities are the lighthouses of human civilization and serve as fundamental engines for social and economic development. As one of China’s earliest modern universities, Sichuan University, founded in 1896, has consistently embodied the ideals of embracing all schools of thought, cultivating pillars of the country, promoting academic progress, directing social development and working for the wellbeing of humankind. Our university has made significant contributions to China’s socioeconomic development, as well as to the broader advancement of human civilization at various stages of its history.
As we mark our 120th anniversary, Sichuan University is at a turning point. We have impressive academic strengths across disciplines, including medicine, biological sciences, basic and applied sciences, engineering, social sciences, arts and humanities. We are fortunate to be located in a very dynamic region of China, and to enjoy close relationships with creative governmental partners ---at the national, provincial and municipal levels. We also benefit from deep and multi-faceted partnerships with the industry, as well as an incredibly well-connected and dynamic alumni network. But we face multiple challenges too. As the world is changing rapidly, we need to fundamentally transform our research and educational models if we are to serve our students and society more effectively in the next 120 years.
Our fundamental strategy for the future is to more effectively integrate our research, education and public service missions. We are developing new models for multidisciplinary, multisectoral and multinational collaborations, with a focus on innovation. We envision a future in which our professors and students are increasingly engaged in collaborating with multiple sectors of society and with partners worldwide, on concrete projects that address fundamental challenges facing humanity.
Moving to such a project-based approach, which diversifies from the traditional classroom-based models of knowledge transmission, will require enormous changes in all aspects of the university’s administration. But the ultimate benefit will also be enormous; it will enable us to make greater contributions to society and enlarge Sichuan University’s leadership role worldwide in the next 120 years.