The Monument of Southwest Associated University: Eventful Time, Glorious History
“The history of Southwest Associated University will be remembered and admired by the whole academic world. The tradition of Southwest Associated University has become a patrimony which should be inherited by China and the world.”
The Monument of Southwest Associated University that the students can see in the campus is the new one, established in 2007. The previous one, a triangular column standing on the bank of Mati Lake, is just an old memory. This new monument was copied from the one in the original site of Southwest Associated University, and is located at the end of Dazhong Road, inside Nankai University’s campus. The pedestal of the monument, 5m height and 2.7m width, is dome-shaped, and the body of the monument is embedded in it. The inscription was written by Feng Youlan, professor of Southwest Associated University, seal cut by Wen Yiduo, and hand written by Luo Yong, so it is also called “Triptych”. The inscription is composed by 1,178 words about the history and significance of Southwest Associated University, and it is full of patriotism. The names of 843 students of Southwest Associated University who joined the army are carved in the back of monument. Fan Zeng, famous painter and professor of Nankai University, wrote the inscription on the back.
Nankai University’s Monument of Southwest Associated University
Peking University and Tsinghua University also have the monuments of Southwest Associated University in their campuses. Nankai University’s previous one was the smallest and simplest one. The previous Monument was located between the west bank of Mati Lake and the east bank of Xinkai Lake, close to the Administrative Building (former site of Muzhai Library). It is now hidden by Dazhong Road’s tall white poplars. Many alumni and new students noticed it unconsciously.
The previous Monument of Southwest Associated University of Nankai University
It is a triangular column bonded by three rugged stones with the logos of the three universities. The inscription was hand written by Huang Yusheng. At the feet of the monument, nine tablets representing the years from 1937 to 1946 create a perfect semi circle on the ground, symbolizing the eventful and glorious time of Southwest Associated University. On the stones there is carved a quote from Huang Yusheng, previous General Secretary of Nankai University and Director of the Department of Construction of the Southwest Associated University.
The Year Stones beside the Monument
In August 1937, Nankai, together with Peking and Tsinghua Universities, united in Changsha to form Changsha Temporary University. Zhang Boling, Jiang Menglin, and Mei Yiqi, Presidents of the three universities, worked together as members of the Standing Committee to chair the School. The temporary university was located in Jiucaiyuan, in the east of Changsha city. On November 1st, 1937, Changsha Temporary University officially began the semester. This date has become the anniversary of the National Southwest Associated University. On April 2nd, 1938, Changsha Temporary University was moved to Kunming and changed its name to Southwest Associated University. In the eight years of Southwest Associated University, masters and talents gathered in the university and made great achievements.
The gate of Southwest Associated University
The concentration of luminaries among the teaching staff of Southwest Associated University was unique in the modern history of Chinese education. During these eight years, there were 290 professors and forty-eight vice professors, with more than 8,000 students and 2,500 graduates, of whom seventy-eight later became academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; twelve became members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering; two won the Nobel Prize in Physics; three won the State Preeminent Science and Technology Award; and eight won the medal for meritorious service in bomb and satellite research. A large group of social scientists, litterateurs, politicians, revolutionaries, and even government leaders were tightly connected with the university, including Li Guangtian from the Department of Literature, Bian Zhilin and Liu Wuji from the Department of Foreign Languages, Lei Haizong and Zheng Tianting from the Department of History, Feng Wenqian from the Department of Philosophy and Psychology, Huang Yusheng and Zha Liangzhao from the Normal College, Chen Xujing from the Department of Law and Business, Jiang Lifu and Chen Xingshen from the Department of Mathematics, Rao Yutai and Wu Dayou from the Department of Physics, Yang Shixian and Qiu Zongyue from the Department of Chemistry, and Meng Guangzhe from the Department of Engineering.
Eight years of Southwest Associated University provided the union masters and talents. Their academic achievements and endless praise will remain in people’s hearts forever.