University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
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HISTORIC TIMELINE

                 Download the timeline (PDF).

1914

The first three Chinese students enrolled at the University of Minnesota: Pan Wen Ping, Pan Wen Huen, and Kwong Yih Kum (Harding). They all played on the University soccer team and made significant contributions to the championship won during the 1914 season.

Image courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

1915

The Chinese Students’ Club at the University was founded. For more than four decades, the student organization created opportunities for students at the University to develop fellowship, especially among Chinese students.

Image courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

1916

Journalist and statesman Ng Poon Chew was invited to speak at the University. Known as the “father of Chinese journalism on the West Coast,” Ng Poon Chew was an author, publisher, and advocated for Chinese American civil rights. He is the first known Chinese national to give a presentation on the University campus.

Photo source

1918

The foremost woman physician of China, Dr. Kin Yamai, gave a lecture on China and the war. She was hosted by the University’s student organization, the Cosmopolitan Club.

Photo source: Ann Waltner

1919

Chinese students at the University staged a drama titled, “In the Last Days of the Manchus,” written by Chinese student Lin Shuming, who was a junior at the College of Agriculture. His brother Lin Szechen, a student at the School of Mines, took one of the roles. They were sons of the justice of the Supreme Court in Soo Chow, China. University students Pearl Humm and Y.F. Young, of Yunnan, China, a graduate of Purdue University, who was working in Minnesota, played the other characters.

Image courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

1921

University Professor Harold S. Quigley, from the Department of Political Science, taught at Tsinghua College in China from 1921 to 1923. During his stay, he developed personal contacts with Chinese leaders including Dr. Hu Shih, philosopher Liang Chi-chao, General Chiang Kai-shek, Feng Yu-hsiang, and others.

Image courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

1924

Dr. Marshal Hertig, University professor of entomology, went to do research in China. His research trip was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and focused on the control of the disease known as kala-azar. He spent two years in China.

Image courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

1925

C. Walter Young, University instructor in the department of political science, was awarded the Willard Straight fellowship to perform research work in China. He enrolled at the Yenching School of Chinese Studies, a branch of Yenching University situated in Beijing. In 1932, Young served as councilor and technical expert on the Manchurian commission of inquiry, with headquarters in Shanghai. Sir Eric Drummond, secretary-general of the League of Nations, appointed him to this position.

Photo source

1926

Kuo Ping-Wen ( 郭秉文), gave a lecture on the University campus titled "The Student Movement in China." He was from National Southeast University, Nanking, China and was a graduate of Columbia University.

Photo source

1927

Alumnus Perry O. Hanson 韩丕瑞 (’99), who was the principal of the Academy for Chinese boys at Taianfu, Shantung, published an announcement in the Minnesota Alumni Weekly requesting funds to support his initiatives in China. He established two middle schools in Taianfu.

Photo source

1934

Alumnus C. F. Remer, who was a professor of economics at the University of Michigan, published a book titled “Foreign Investment in China.” He previously taught economics at St. John’s University, in Shanghai, and was a specialist on foreign trade in China. The book was translated into Chinese and published by The Commercial Press (商务印书馆). This book is considered to be the first on the topic of foreign investments in China.

Photo source

1935

The University displayed an exhibit of Chinese robes and puppets on campus.

Unknown Chinese artist, Filial Piety, 6th century, stone rubbing, 10 x 16 in., Collection of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Museum purchase, 1934.76.
Unknown Chinese artist, Heroes, 1st century, stone rubbing, 11 1/4 x 11 1/2 in., Collection of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Museum purchase, 1934.77

1938

Dr. Hu Shih (胡适), a famous Chinese philosopher and author, visited the University and gave a lecture titled “Chinese Nationalism”. Some 40 Chinese students met with the distinguished Chinese philosopher at the International Relations Bureau.

Photo source

1944

Diplomat Hilda Yen(颜雅清)delivered a lecture titled “Spirit of New China” on campus.

Photo source

1945

10 students sponsored by the Chinese Government arrived at the University of Minnesota. Mr. Zou Bingwen, who was a China representative at the Food and Agriculture Organization, proposed the program. After receiving master of science degrees in agricultural engineering and completing a one-year farm internship, the students returned to China in 1948 and became the first generation of agricultural engineering scientists in the People’s Republic of China.

Photo source: Shui Xinyuan

1948

By 1948 the Chinese student organization, which was renamed the Chinese Students Association, was well established. Members of the organization were from diverse provinces in China or the U.S. They held academic seminars and believed "the future cooperation in the reconstruction of China can be started here."





Images courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

1949

University Professor Richard Mather established the Chinese language and literature program at the University of Minnesota.

1953

University Professor Werner Levi published a book titled “Modern China’s Foreign Policy” through the University of Minnesota Press.

Image courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

1956

There were around 80 Chinese students on campus at the time. University Professor O.M. Leland hosted a holiday party for the students in Dinkytown.

1960

Professor Richard Mather offered graduate courses in Chinese at the University. Graduate assistantships were offered along with these courses.

Image courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

1967

The Chinese American Association of Minnesota (CAAM) was established and had close relationships with the Chinese students organizations at the University. This is the first time that the professional, business, ministry and student components of Chinese Americans in Minnesota worked together under one organization.

Photo source: Dr. Di Chen

Well-known artist Zhao Rulan of Harvard University delivered a lecture on campus about the Peking opera.

1973

University Professor Robert J. Poor visited China and gave two lectures. This was the second U.S. delegation to China after U.S. President Nixon’s trip in 1972.

Photo source: Robert Poor

The National Chinese Opera Theatre from Taiwan performed at the University. The company of 80 presented singing, dancing, mime, ritual sword fighting, the art of Kung Fu, and acrobatics.

1974

An agricultural delegation led by University alumnus and Henan Agricultural College Professor Wu Shaokui was the first Chinese delegation to visit the University. This delegation was sponsored by the U.S. National Academy of Science’s Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People’s Republic of China.

Alumnus and 1970 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Norman Borlaug traveled to China with President Richard Nixon’s delegation in 1972 and again in 1974 as part of a U.S. agricultural science delegation. He traveled extensively throughout China for the next three decades.

Photo source

1975

The Chinese Student Service Center was established. Coffman Memorial Union hosted a gallery on Chinese calligraphy and painting.

1976

University faculty joined representatives from the Minnesota business community to visit five cities in China.

1978

A Chinese geography delegation led by Dr. Huang Bingwei, Director of Institute of Geography at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, visited the University. This delegation visited 24 cities and 16 universities in the U.S., and is regarded as the “icebreaker journey” between the geography exchanges between the U.S. and China.

1979

The University sent its first delegation to China, led by Regent Wenda Moore, where four agreements were signed with Chinese universities. The delegation was received by Chinese Vice Prime Minister Fang Yi at the Great Hall of the People.

The University established the "China Desk" (precursor to China Center) to build bridges between the University and the greater China area.

1980

The University student band toured China as the first foreign band to the country after the Cultural Revolution.

Image courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

University students participated in the first study abroad program to China titled “Summer Intensive Chinese Language Institute” at Nankai University. The program had 37 total participants from the University and other U.S. universities.

Photo source: China Center

1981

University President C. Peter Magrath led the first University presidential delegation to China. The delegation discussed collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. They met with more than 100 alumni in Beijing and other cities. Many alumni brought pictures and clippings of their years in Minnesota and sang the Minnesota rouser together, which Magrath noted as the most moving moment.

Photo source: China Center

The Chinese women’s national basketball team visited the University and played exhibition games against the Gopher women’s basketball team.

Image courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Ralph Rapson, head of the University’s School of Architecture, sent the first group of architecture students to China. It offered them the unique opportunity to observe, understand, and record challenges faced by the newly industrialized country.

1982

Professor Cheng Khee Chee, a world-renowned watercolor artist from the University of Minnesota-Duluth campus, led an art craft tour in China.

The University’s College of Veterinary Medicine collaborated with the Beijing Agricultural University to host a symposium in Beijing, China.

The Chinese national hockey team competed in an exhibition game at the University.

1984

The University of Minnesota-Duluth campus established a 3-year scientific exchange program with China. The campus also established an exchange agreement with Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts.

Photo source: University of Minnesota-Duluth

1985

The University hosted delegations from the Chinese Ministry of Culture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Social Science, Fudan University, Beijing Agricultural University, Jilin University of Technology, Nankai University, Xi’an Jiaotong University.

1986

The University hosted delegations from Henan Agricultural University led by President Jiang Jianping, Tsinghua University led by Vice President Zhang Guangdou, and Central-South University of Technology led by President Wang Dianzou.

1987

The University’s China Center sponsored two Chinese plays, “Rickshaw Boy” and “Thunderstorm,” performed by the Nankai University theater group.

Photo source: China Center

1988

The University hosted visits from Tian Jiyun, vice premier of the People’s Republic of China; Han Xu, Chinese ambassador to the U.S.; and Vinston A. Lord, U.S. ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.

1989

The University’s student organization, Friendship Association of Chinese Students and Scholars, responded to the Tiananmen Square tragedy by forming the Subcommittee for Chinese Democracy

1992

The University’s China Center published the book “East Gate of Kaifeng: a Jewish World Inside China.”

University Professor Robert J. Poor was invited to participate in the first joint China and U.S. archaeology expedition.

1993

The University hosted a Mid-autumn Festival Party at the University Arboretum.

Photo source: China Center

1994

24 students from Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University participated in a Summer English Language and Culture Short Course held on campus.

Photo source: China Center

1995

University President Nils Hasselmo led the second University presidential delegation to the greater China area. The visit represented a strong effort by the University to reconnect and develop strong ties with Chinese alumni and friends.

Photo source: China Center

The first University of Minnesota Alumni Association chapter in China was formalized in Beijing.

1996

University President Nils Hasselmo visited China and Taiwan. During the trip, he awarded an honorary doctorate degree to Professor Tang Peisong, the father of plant physiology, who was 94 years old at the time.

Photo source: China Center

Tsiang Yien-Si received an honorary doctorate of law degree from the University. Tsiang received master of science and doctorate degrees from the College of Agriculture in the 1940s and was known for six decades of public service in Taiwan. He was also well known for his role as a key architect of the Taiwan Economic Miracle.

1997

University of Minnesota Alumni Association Taiwan Chapter President Arnold Chang led a delegation to visit the University.

Photo source: China Center

1998

University President Mark Yudof joined Governor Arne Carlson on a Minnesota trade mission to China and was welcomed by the University Alumni Association chapter in Beijing.

Photo source: China Center

2000

University President Mark Yudof led the fourth University presidential delegation to the greater China area. He visited Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Xi’an, Beijing, Guilin, and Taipei to promote educational, business, and alumni ties spanning decades.

Photo source: China Center

2001

With official approval by the Chinese Ministry of Education and the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council, the Carlson School of Management established its China Executive MBA (CHEMBA) program in Guangzhou, in collaboration with Sun Yat-Sen University Lingnan College.

Photo source: Carlson Global Institute

The University’s China Center established the Mingda Institute for Leadership Training. First trainees arrived from the Administrative Department of Zhejiang Province.

Photo source: China Center

2002

Jiang Zhenghua, vice chair of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress, visited the University. He was the highest-ranking Chinese official ever to visit campus. An agreement between the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics and the University’s Minnesota Population Center was announced.

Image courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

The University’s Institute of Technology offered its first Global Seminar in China.

Photo source: China Center

China West Educational Investment Corporation made a donation to the University’s China Center to establish the China West Scholarship. This was the first scholarship endowed by a China-based company at the University of Minnesota and supported University students interested in studying abroad in China.

Photo source: China Center

2003

The “Summer in Minnesota” picnic for Chinese students, scholars, and their families and friends was held in June at Como Park.

Photo source: China Center

2004

University President Robert Bruininks led the fifth University presidential delegation to the greater China area, and visited partners and alumni in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Photo source: China Center

2005

The first bilateral research forum between the University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) was held in Beijing. The forum allowed faculty and scientists from both the University and CAS to share ideas for scientific exchange, identify common interests for future collaborations and research, and strengthen ties between the two institutions.

Photo source: China Center

2006

University of Minnesota-Crookston Vice Chancellor Joe Massey and Chancellor Emeritus Donald Sargeant along with China Center Director Hong Yang traveled to Hangzhou, China, to develop cooperative agreements with Zhejiang Economic and Trade Polytechnic.

Photo source: University of Minnesota-Crookston

2007

China State Food and Drug Administration sent a delegation of 20 government officials to attend a two-week training program on “Food and Drug Administration in the United States” at the University of Minnesota.

Photo source: China Center

2008

The Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota was established to promote the study of Chinese language and culture throughout Minnesota. It is a collaborative initiative between the University of Minnesota, the Confucius Institute Headquarters, and Capital Normal University in Beijing.

Photo source: Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota

A Taiwanese delegation led by Chiang Pin-kung, Vice Chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party, visited the University. The group included several Taiwanese legislators from the Chinese Nationalist Party and the Democratic Progressive Party.

Photo source: China Center

2009

The Chinese Ministry of Education sent a delegation of 20 Chinese university presidents and vice presidents to the University for a two-week training program on “Higher Education Policy and Administration.”

Photo source: China Center

The University’s first international office was established in Beijing to promote alumni relations, support international admission, and facilitate partnership in China.

Photo source: China Center

The University’s Law School collaborated with China’s Renmin University to offer a summer study abroad program about Chinese law.

The University of Minnesota-Morris signed a partnership agreement with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

2010

The Beijing Municipal Government sent a delegation of 22 government officials for a two-week training program on “Social Work Management” at the University in January 2010.

Photo source: China Center

2011

Governor Zhao Zhengyong and his delegation from Shaanxi Province, Minnesota’s sister state in China, visited the University.

Photo source: China Center

The University’s American Cultural Center for Sport was established in collaboration between the University of Minnesota’s China Center and School of Kinesiology, and Tianjin University of Sport.

Photo source: China Center

The University’s Medical School, Masonic Cancer Center, School of Public Health, and College of Science and Engineering hosted the honorary doctorate conferral ceremony for China’s Minister of Health Chen Zhu.

2013

The University of Minnesota-Crookston partnered with Zhejiang Economic and Trade Polytechnic to establish the American Cultural Center for Culture Exchange in Hangzhou, China.

Photo source: University of Minnesota-Crookston

University President Eric Kaler led a delegation to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and Taipei. It was the sixth University presidential delegation to the Greater China Area.

Photo source: China Center

PRESENT