Hebei University was originally founded in 1921 with a history of almost a hundred years. With the mission of “saving the country with science” at its founding, the university has been facilitating to inherit academic research, promoting social development, forming the motto of “seeking truth from facts”. Ever since then, the scientific and humanistic spirit contained in the motto has been nourishing HBU community one generation after another.
The university was originally founded by French Jesuits as Tianjin Technology and Business University in 1921, located at No.141, Machang Road, Tianjin. It was one of the three missionary universities founded by the Roman Catholic Church in modern China.
It offered two programs only, industry and commerce, with French higher education as its model. Most faculties are foreign teachers with high level education background. They are from 14 countries, such as France, Belgium, America and etc. The teaching language was originally French, and then in 1926 it was shifted into English. It was named as a university at its founding, bearing the characteristics of combining both the East and West, and running the school openly.
P. P. Jubaru (1862-1930), our first president, made great contribution for founding the university. He proposed very advanced principles, first, taking the advantage of industry and commerce, fostering promising youngsters for China; second, teaching French culture and technology, nourishing both knowledge and virtue; third, learning from the essence of European science, promoting China’s modernization.
In 1923, the university began the enrollment of preparatory undergraduates. In 1925, it began to enroll undergraduates. The first batch of them, including industry and commerce, totaled 16. Although the scale of the university was not large during the initial period, it attached great importance to the cultivation of students' theoretical and experimental practice. In just a few years, it built 5 laboratories, 2 exhibition centers and 2 internship factories. Also it purchased extremely advanced experimental instruments and equipment of various kinds.
After the establishment of Tianjin Technology and Business University, the French Jesuits built a special scientific research institution, Beijiang Museum, on the university campus in 1922. Under the efforts of scientific giants such as Emile Licent and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the Museum developed into a multi-disciplinary collection of animals, plants, geology, paleontology and ancient humans in China. With more than 400,000 specimens, it had the largest number among similar museums in the country and played an important role in the international arena. The Museum shared the origin with Tianjin Industrial and Commercial University. It provides specimens for various courses and valuable papers and lectures for the University. It benefited as well from the students thereof.
In 1933, when the school was filed with the Ministry of Education of the National Government, it was renamed Tianjin Industrial and Commercial College because it did not reach the size of a university, requiring at least 3 colleges and nine departments. The first dean was Mr. Hua Nangui.
He was a famous railway engineering expert and one of the founders of modern civil engineering in China. When he was the dean, he advocated to save the country by science, put forward the requirements of "Combining study and practice, becoming the national backbone", and called on the students to do everything they learned and put them into national liberation. Under his initiative and promotion, the school system is increasingly complete, providing a solid institutional foundation for ensuring the quality of teaching. His great development during the school year was to introduce the internship system from France. This system was also a pioneering work in Europe at the time. At the same time, he also took the initiative to bring students to the rolling stock factory for internship. Through these measures, real learning, dare to practice, and seeking practical results became the vane of school education at that time.
After the outbreak of the Anti-Japanese war, many colleges and universities moved in, Tianjin Industrial and Commercial College became the only one which insisted to stay in Tianjin. The school overcame many difficulties, and recruited famous teachers from Beijing and Tianjin. At one time, the masters gathered here, making the school an ideal place for many patriotic professors to pursue their scientific dreams and continue the national civilization. During this period, Chinese teachers gradually became the main body of the school.
With the aim of “creating specialized talents in both industry and commerce”, the school integrates moral, intellectual, and physical education, and adheres to both academic and practical experience. In teaching, the school paid attention to develop individuality and autonomy among each student, highlighted internship in and out of campus. It made strict requirements for student training, combining academic examinations and conduct assessments, and established strict grading standards. The school's teaching facilities and equipment increased significantly. The extracurricular life was rich and colorful, especially the cultural and sports activities. "The results are quite acclaimed.” The school focused on discipline construction and actively prepared for “upgrading into a university”. In 1946, it reached the scale of the “three colleges and ten departments”.
During this time, it was the first glorious period in the history. Despite the raging Japanese invaders, internal and external problems, the school always held high the banner of science and patriotism, aiming at building a “standardized and modernized university”. The traditional Chinese scholarship spirit and the western scientific spirit together formed the school motto of "seeking truth from facts”. At that time, it enjoyed the reputation of “In the vast North China, Tianjin Industrial and Commercial College is the best.”
In October 1948, the Ministry of Education of the National Government officially approved that Tianjin Industrial and Commercial College was renamed the private Jingu University.
On September 19, 1951, the Ministry of Education of the Central People's Government approved, under the request of the Board of Directors, Jingu University, that Jingu University was changed from private to national. On September 25th, Jingu University held a grand ceremony to celebrate the change and welcome the new students. Representatives from The Ministry of Education of the Central People's Government, the People's Government of Tianjin, and peer universities, heads of social organizations and celebrities attended the ceremony.
The significant change from private to national marked a new historic phrase for the development of the university. With the support of the Central People's Government, the teachers and students of Jingu University worked diligently and vigorously, continued to carry forward the fine tradition of running the school, expanded it to 3 colleges and 13 Department, and formed a foothold in Tianjin together with Beiyang University and Nankai University.
In 1952, China conducted a nationwide adjustment among higher institutions. The industry college and the commerce college of Jingu University were detached. Tianjin Normal College was built on the basis of the original teachers' college. In 1958, it was expanded into Tianjin Normal University.
At this stage, the school responded to the national call to cultivate various types of teachers who were urgently in need in social development. It developed rapidly in terms of discipline construction, laboratory, number of faculties and students, and etc. In 1958, graduate students were recruited in some majors. By 1960, the university had grown to 11 departments, and a comprehensive university had taken shape.
During this period, a large number of well-known scholars taught and did research here. They concentrated on scientific research and education, which made the university well-known among the domestic normal universities.
In May 1960, the Hebei Provincial Party Committee decided to reorganize Tianjin Normal University into a comprehensive one, Hebei University, whose main task was to train researchers and teachers, who taught basic courses in higher institutions for Hebei Province. On July 1, 1960, the founding congress of Hebei University was held.
After the expansion into the comprehensive Hebei University, it adjusted and enhanced the program settings. The scale and the quality of education were greatly improved. It began to accept international students. The school's work was on the rise. In the mid-1960s, Hebei University once again entered a glorious period, becoming a comprehensive university with great influence in multiple disciplines, such as literature, history, philosophy, economics, foreign language, education, mathematics, science, biology and etc.
In 1970, Hebei University was relocated from Tianjin to a well-known historical and cultural city--Baoding in Hebei Province. Impacted by relocation and “the Great Cultural Revolution”, its development suffered heavy losses.
After the reform and opening up, the teachers and students of the university reformed and innovated, and the university made remarkable achievements in teaching reform, scientific research, discipline construction, personnel training, community service, international exchange, party building and etc.
In 1981, it was among the first to get authorized to offer master's degrees.
In 1984, it trained the first doctoral supervisor in Hebei Province and was the first to award doctoral degree in Hebei Province.
In 1996, it introduced the first academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to our province.
In 1999, it trained the first academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Hebei Province.
The Technology Supervision School of Hebei Province was incorporated into Hebei University in 2000, forming the School of Quality and Technology Supervision.
In 2001, it took the lead in launching a new campus in Hebei Province, which greatly expanded the university’s school space.
In the same year, Industrial and Commercial College, Hebei University, the first independent college in Hebei Province was founded.
In 2005, the People's Government of Hebei Province signed the agreement with the Ministry of Education, to co-construct Hebei University.
Hebei Medical Staff College as well as its affiliated hospital was incorporated into Hebei University in the same year, which further enriched our disciplines and greatly improved our comprehensive strength as well.
In 2012, it was listed among “universities to be promoted in the central and western region”.
In 2016, it was listed among the first tier universities of “Double First-Class Construction Project”.
In 2018, it was selected to be co-constructed by Ministry of Education, the People's Government of Hebei Province, opening a new chapter in its development history.
Currently, HBU is thriving with strong momentum, supported by Hebei Provincial Committee, the People’s Government of Hebei Province and national ministries including Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance. With the opportunity of being co-constructed by Hebei Province and Ministry of Education, all teachers and students are working together to overcome difficulties and striding ahead to build a high-level university.
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