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History and natural beauty abound at ECNU
By Paloma Moritz

Shanghai Daily’s series on significant buildings and landmarks at local college campuses continues at East China Normal University.

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)

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Located 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 significant structures.

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.

Climbing up 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.

Siqun Hall

Located 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 on display.

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 movies.

Liwa River and Li Ke San Guan

The real 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.

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