Celebrating 70 years!Tell ECNU Stories from A to Z


Founded on October 16th, 1951, East China Normal University (ECNU) is celebrating its 70th anniversary on October 16. There have been a variety of memorable moments about ECNU during the past 70 years. 

Today, we’re going to share 26 stories, from A-Z, to honour ECNU’s past, celebrate its present, and look into its future.


In 2017, ECNU was selected as Class A in the national Double First-Class Program, embarking on its journey towards a world-class university with first-class academic disciplines. This program, launched by the Ministry of Education, aims to transform elite Chinese universities into world-class institutions by the end of 2050.


Basking in the great love of ECNU’ is a popular phrase among ECNUers. It is the university’s effort to fulfil its social responsibility. While ECNU students reap the bliss of the day, they are expected to extend such great love to society.


ECNU has made great strides in talent training, scientific research, community service, and international exchange over the past few decades, in an effort to fulfil its vision of “creativity, character, and community”, which was proposed by ECNU’s first president Meng Xiancheng.

▲ ECNU’s first president Meng Xiancheng


ECNU is ranked among China's top 10 higher education institutions in term of the number of overseas students, due to its dedication to fostering international exchange and collaborations. The university is committed to fostering diverse, inclusive, and equitable living, learning, and working environment for everyone, and helping students to develop an international outlook. Every year, the university holds a Mini Expo to celebrate cultural diversity.

▲ ECNU held Mini Expo to celebrate cultural diversity.


The theme of ECNU’s 70th anniversary is “Truth-Seeking Produces Excellence, Education Builds the Future.”


ECNU offers a distinct and high-quality catering service to every student living on campus. Each canteen offers a variety of food from traditional Chinese cuisine to trendy light meals. Besides, ECNUers can always find creative food at the canteens, some of which, such as fried grapes with corns, even became popular on social media.


ECNU has long been known as a Garden University for its beautiful campus. Cherry blossoms and a variety of graduation flowering shrubs and trees are found on campus.


ECNU’s national strategic goals are encapsulated in the “Flower of Happiness” program. The five action plans—Education+, Ecology+, AI+, Internationalization+, and Health+ —are akin to the five petals of a flower. With this program, ECNU hopes to bring happiness to humanity by offering solutions that serve people’s fundamental needs.


By addressing major challenges to the education system confronting China as well as the rest of the world, ECNU has made advances in many fields by implementing reforms aiming at developing interdisciplinary systems. ECNU has contributed to cutting-edge research and the expansion of new fields in intelligent education by integrating interdisciplinary fields of pedagogy, computer science, software engineering, data science, psychology, mathematics, and other fields.

▲ ECNU held Intelligent Education Open Week on May 29th and 30th.


Over the past decades, ECNU has signed more than 300 joint partnerships related to scientific and technological development, service and research with institutions around the world. Among the joint programs is New York University Shanghai (NYU Shanghai) jointlyestablished in October 2012 by ECNU and New York University; it is the first independent Sino-US research and degree-granting university in China.

▲ NYU-ECNU Joint Research Institute


Established in 1951 through the merger of the Great China University and Kwang Hua University’s arts and science faculties, ECNU has its original mission of training exceptional teaching staff who would educate and inspire future generations all across the country. In a short span of 8 years after its founding, ECNU was recognized as one of the 16 key universities in China.


The library is an indispensable part of students’ daily life on campus. ECNU libraries house an extensive collection of books, journals and other materials, covering a wide range of subjects including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and applied technology. They also offer a powerful digital catalogue system where academic materials can be easily accessed.

▲ Library on Putuo campus

▲ Library on Minhang campus


In 2006, the majority of ECNU faculties and departments began to move from the Putuo campus to the newly-constructed campus in the Minhang district, turning ECNU into a university with two campuses.


The word “normal” originates from the Latin word “normalis”—a word commonly used to describe something as fitting a pattern, standard, or norm. It is now associated with teacher training in the norms of pedagogy. Focusing on teacher education and education research, ECNU aims to promote innovation in Chinese education today and in the future.

Dream makers: ECNU volunteers teach in rural areas


ECNU was founded on October 16, 1951. The university is now celebrating its 70th anniversary which falls on October 16th, 2021. As the big day is approaching, we wish all ECNUers to be part of the celebration, either online or in person. 


On Hengsha Island, ECNU researchers designed the “little colorful lion” - the mascot of ECNU, formed by rice of different rice varieties to celebrate the university’s 70th anniversary.


Located in Putuo district, ECNU has integrated well with the Putuo district, laying a solid foundation for in-depth cooperation. In recent years, they have implemented strategic cooperation, explored key areas of development, and accelerated industry-university-research collaborative innovation. 


ECNU has always strived to improve the quality of education and research. For example, it offers a wide range of high-quality courses. It also provides many opportunities for ECNUers to carry out scientific research and conduct their own innovation projects while encouraging students to think creatively in their pursuits.


ECNU has two rivers on campus: the Liwa River on the Putuo campus, and the Yingtao River on the Minhang campus. Both rivers have become well-known scenic spots on campus. Along the rivers are oleanders, willows, plane trees, and cherry trees. As seasons change, ECNUers can appreciate different views along the rivers.

Liwa River on Putuo campus

Yingtao River on Minhang campus


ECNU is based in Shanghai, a city featuring diversity, pursuit of excellence, open-mindedness, wisdom, generosity, and humility. Like the city of Shanghai, ECNU is renowned for its inclusiveness and pioneering innovation.


In the past 3 years, ECNU has won several gold medals in the national entrepreneurship contest for college students and was ranked one of the top universities in mass entrepreneurship and innovation in China.

▲ ECNU center for entrepreneurship


Since January 2021, the two campuses of ECNU have been connected by the underground Line 15, making it more convenient for ECNUers to commute.

▲ Shanghai Metro Line 15 brings great convenience to ECNUers


ECNU is not only an institution of higher learning focusing on high-level education and research, but also a place of vitality. There are over 110 student clubs catering for different interests. In addition, the university holds a variety of sporting activities, with a wide range of campus-based indoor and outdoor facilities.


The scope of work undertaken at ECNU is impressive. Advances are being made in carbon capture and green materials manufacture by bringing ecofriendly techniques to chemistry and materials science under the banner of “green carbon science.” And in the life sciences, research into the use of gene-editing technologies like CRISPR is bringing the promise of treatment for currently incurable immune system diseases closer to reality. For 7 decades, ECNU has provided its wisdom not only to local development but increasingly more to world development.

▲ ECNUers conduct research intheAntarctic.


In algebra, the letter “x” means an unknown value. The unknown world is waiting for ECNUers to explore.


The progress ECNU has made during its development is inseparable from each and every ECNUer’s efforts. The university’s achievements are all made by you.


Striving to become a world-class higher education institution, ECNU has never forgotten where it is rooted. It is always ready to serve China, or  Zhōngguó.

——      1951-2021      ——

Celebrating the 70th anniversary of ECNU

Author: Xu Xincheng, Yuan Yiwe

Copy editor: David Kyei-Nuamah, Philip Nash, Li Mengjie

Editor:Li Mengjie


East China Normal University