Zhang Boling (1876-1951), born in Tianjin on the 5th April 1876, was a famous modern patriotic educator, and one of the founders of Nankai University. He held the post of President of Nankai University from 1919 to 1948.
Zhang Boling was president of Nankai University for thirty years. When the Japanese Army bombed Nankai's campus in 1937, Nankai partnered together with Peking and Tsinghua universities to found National Southwest Associated University in Kunming. Zhang Boling, Mei Yiqi and Jiang Menglin served as members of the Standing Committee of the University. Zhang Boling served as the dean of Tsinghua University, president of Zhili Normal University, director of Beijing Normal University, chairman of Cheeloo University, a member of the Northeastern University Council, director of the China National Amateur Athletic Federation, deputy speaker of the National Political Council, Dean of the Examinations Authority, and chief referee of the National Games of the People's Republic of China.
Zhang Boling also established Nankai High School, Nankai University, No.2 Nankai Middle School and Nankai Elementary School. He established the scool motto of "Dedication to publicinterests, acquisition of all-round capability, and aspiration for progress witheach passing day". In 1936, Chongqing Nankai Middle School was founded in Chongqing, Sichuan Province. The Nankai series of schools became the first successful models for modern Chinese education. Before the foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Zhang Boling was awarded honorary doctorates by Saint John's University and Columbia University.
On February 23rd, 1951, Zhang Boling died of illness in Tianjin at the age of seventy-five. In 1986, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and National Education Commission commemorated the 110th anniversary of the birth of Zhang Boling. Nankai University erected a statue of Zhang Boling in memory of him.