The official celebrations for our 10th anniversary are on 26 July. To get you in the mood, here are 10 fun facts about Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University!
Neither of our parent universities are based in Suzhou, so how did XJTLU come to be built here in the ‘Venice of the East’? During initial discussions between the University of Liverpool and Xi’an Jiaotong University, it was revealed that Xi’an Jiaotong had considered setting up a branch campus in Suzhou, within the then-new Suzhou Industrial Park. These plans didn’t work out, but the SIP government was willing to offer support to, and land for, a new campus, which would be jointly owned by Liverpool and Xi’an Jiaotong. The location of XJTLU’s beautiful campus was decided.
Liverpool, the home of our parent university, has the largest and longest-established Chinese community in the whole of Europe. In 2000 this was commemorated by the construction of a Chinese ceremonial archway, the largest of its kind in Europe, on Nelson Street in the city’s Chinatown. It was built piece by piece in China and put together in Liverpool by Chinese workmen.
The number of students we recruited in our first year and who were crucial to the University’s success. Professor Kelvin Everest from the University of Liverpool wrote in his book, The History of XJTLU: “These students, and their parents, were taking a bold leap into a new kind of educational experience, and one which testified to their own brave readiness to try something different.”
Fourteen members of staff have been at the University since its very beginning 10 years ago. These include driver Jianhua Chen and administrator Xiaoyan Wu, who have worked here since before the University’s buildings were even built, and Stephen Jeaco, who set up the Language Centre and is the University’s longest serving international member of staff.
“My first official day of work was 1 July 2006 when the Foundation Building opened for the first time. There were about 160 students knocking around this huge building and the entire academic staff could sit around one table! I remember the first graduation ceremony and the first time students went across to Liverpool on 2+2. It was really interesting to be involved from the beginning and I think the University’s ambitions for the future are very good,” said Stephen.
Read more stories from our long-term staff.
Exploratory visits and discussions by the University of Liverpool that would eventually lead to the establishment of XJTLU began in 2003, the same year that the University of Liverpool celebrated its own 100th anniversary as an independent degree-awarding institution.
Did you know the phrase ‘red-brick’ university, used to describe major British universities, was derived from the University of Liverpool’s Victoria Building, which was built in 1892 during the University’s earliest years?
Did you know there is a secret tunnel connecting our North and South Campuses? Running underneath the road and small canal that separate the two areas, the tunnel has been decorated with murals designed by our student clubs and organisations!
The University of Liverpool and Xi’an Jiaotong University came together to form XJTLU thanks, in part, to the work of Chinese academic Professor Michael Fang, a world-renowned expert in electrical engineering who had a very successful career at the University of Liverpool. From the early 1980s Professor Fang visited Xi’an Jiaotong every year, encouraged Chinese staff to visit Liverpool and took on doctoral students. His strong connections would form the basis of discussions between Liverpool and Xi’an Jiaotong about the formation of a new joint venture university and he would become XJTLU’s first executive vice president when the University finally opened in 2006.
As a gift for our 10th anniversary, the University of Liverpool has given XJTLU a traditional British narrow boat which has been named the ‘Liverbird of Suzhou’.
It was named after the ‘liver bird’, a symbol of the city of Liverpool. While not a real species of bird, it has an appearance similar to that of a cormorant and its origin is subject to many myths and legends. The image of a liver bird is used on the University of Liverpool and XJTLU's crests as well as on the logo of Liverpool Football Club.
The little narrow boat has travelled by boat itself all the way from Liverpool to Suzhou – a journey of more than 9,000 kilometres. It will be officially unveiled on Suzhou’s Jinji Lake as part of our 10th anniversary celebrations.
We’ll officially open the first phase of our South Campus in tomorrow! Building on the project began in August 2014 and will be totally completed by the end of 2018. Architecturally it contrasts our North Campus and was inspired by the curved forms of Suzhou’s famous gardens.
An anniversary is a time to celebrate and people from all over the world, and from throughout our history, have been sending their well-wishes! Many of the people featured in this video will be at tomorrow’s celebration events.