BEIJING—Tsinghua University marked its 100th anniversary in a grand ceremony here on 24 April in the Great Hall of the People.
Founded in 1911 with war reparations imposed on the Qing Dynasty for its support of the Boxer Rebellion, Tsinghua School's original aim was to help China's top students prepare for study in the United States. Describing the university's picturesque location in northwest Beijing, the poet Zhu Ziqing penned these lines: "All over this winding stretch of water, what meets the eye is a silken field of leaves, reaching rather high above the surface, like the skirts of dancing girls in all their grace."
Tsinghua these days is best known for engineering and applied science. In New China's early years, university graduates were key figures in programs that developed China's atomic arsenal and its rockets and satellites. In 1964, the country's first nuclear reactor was designed and built here. In a keynote address at the ceremony on Sunday, China's President Hu Jintao, who earned a degree in hydraulic engineering from the university, fondly recalled his days at the university. "When I studied in Tsinghua, the vigorous youth ideal and rigorous scholarship deeply nurtured us," he said.
As it turns 100, Tsinghua is looking to break ground in basic research. Earlier this year it opened the world's deepest underground laboratory, in Sichuan Province, where Chinese researchers hope to play a leading role in the search for dark matter and studying neutrinos. Tsinghua also recently launched research centers on global change studies and on sustainable energy sources.