Private university in Hangzhou names president

By Ma Zhenhuan in Hangzhou (China Daily) Updated : 2018-04-18

Shi Yigong, a former Princeton University professor of molecular science, was named as president of the new Westlake University in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China's first private school aimed at cultivating high-level talent in advanced technology to push the country to the forefront of scientific research.

Shi, who also serves as president of the Westlake Institute for Advanced Study, was chosen on Monday by the school's board of trustees, which also named two vice-pres idents - Xu Tian and Qiu Min.

The board also named physicist and Nobel laureate Yang Zhenning as honorary director.

The 21-member board includes Pan Jianwei, a leading Chinese quantum scientist, and neurobiologist Rao Yi, former dean of Peking University's School of Life Sciences.

"It is my obligation to do a good job as president of Westlake University. I am prepared to do my best to make it an institution of national pride on the global higher education stage," Shi said.

The university's 2018 budget and development plan was also approved.

Zhou Guping, a professor at Zhejiang University's College of Education and vice-president of the Zhejiang Society of Education, told China Daily on Tuesday that she expects the university will turn its blueprint into reality.

"For example, issues need to be addressed concerning how to ensure the effective operation of the university and recruit more top-notch teachers," she said.

Approved by the Ministry of Education this month, Westlake University is a new type of research-oriented university that will focus on basic and advanced scientific and technological research.

Launched by the Hangzhou Westlake Education Foundation, it is a nonprofit organization for higher education and advanced academic research.

The university is recruiting and training doctoral students in association with Fudan and Zhejiang universities. The first 19 PhD candidates were enrolled in September, with 130 more to be recruited this year.