Shanghai Daily’s series on significant buildings
and landmarks at local college campuses continues at East China Normal
Founded in 1951, East China Normal University is one
of the most distinguished teaching institutions in China. It was also
the first normal university established in the country after the
founding of the People’s Republic of China. ECNU is also deeply
internationalized thanks to its long-standing partnerships with New York
University and other overseas universities. Its charming campus scenes
and well-maintained natural settings have lead many to call it
Shanghai’s “Garden University.”
Qunxian Hall (Hall of Talents)
by the entrance of ECNU’s Zhongshan Road N. campus in Putuo District,
Qunxian Hall or “Hall of Talents,” immediately commands attention for
its striking elegance. Built in August 1930 and renovated in 2004, the
delicate white building is one of the school’s most historically
The hall features an imposing entrance
with four tall columns. Entering the building, visitors might have the
chance to be welcomed by the sounds of music or song.
the marble building’s main staircase, one can admire beautiful old
pictures of the university life displayed along the walls. One photo
shows smiling students in an acrobatic formation, while another depicts
students kayaking on the Liwa River.
The building is also known as
the Arts and History Building and continues to host many classes.
Walking through its hallways, one can feel nostalgic by peeking on
students leaning over their books.
near the Liwa River, the Siqun Hall was built in 1946 in memory of Wang
Boqun, a former president of the university. This orange-red brick
building is a symbol of ECNU. For this reason, few graduates depart the
school without taking a picture in front of the hall that embodies its
history. Inside the building, photographs of prominent alumni are also
However Siqun Hall is more than just a symbol of the
university’s past. It still hosts campus events, such as student talent
shows, chamber music concerts and graduation ceremonies. It also
features a cinema that organizes regular screenings of contemporary
Liwa River and Li Ke San Guan
highlight of the campus is the Liwa River that runs through ECNU. The
lotus pound is one of the most pleasant sites along the river, with its
traditional stone bridge and an abundance of lush lotus plants. During
the summer, it offers a peaceful hideaway for students to enjoy a
cooling atmosphere and agreeable scenery.
After passing through a
small forest behind the pond, visitors will then find themselves in
front of a stone tablet bearing the university’s motto, which is: “Seek
truth, foster originality and live up to the name of teacher.” The three
buildings surrounding this tablet, known as Li Ke San Guan (Three
Buildings of Science), are also considered some of the most unique
buildings on the campus.