St. John's University (SJU) was a Christian university in Shanghai. Founded in 1879 by American missionaries, it was one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in China, often regarded as the Harvard of China.
Motto in English
|Light and Truth|
|President||Francis Lister Hawks Pott|
After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Communist government closed the university in 1952. Most of its faculty members, students and library collections were transferred to East China Normal University. Its board of governors moved the university to Hong Kong, founding Chung Chi College, a part of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Its former campus at Shanghai is now utilized by the East China University of Political Science and Law.
The university was founded in 1879 as "St. John's College" by William Jones Boone and Joseph Schereschewsky, Bishop of Shanghai, by combining two preexisting Anglican colleges in Shanghai. The architect for the college's original quadrangle of buildings was Newark, New Jersey architect William Halsey Wood. The first president was Yen Yun-ching (Chinese: 顏永京, 1838–98). During the early period of St. John's College, Lydia Mary Fay (1804–78), a missionary of the Protestant Episcopal China Mission (or the American Church Mission), helped to set up Duane Hall, a secondary school which later became part of St. John's College.
St. John's began with 39 students and taught mainly in Chinese. In 1891, it changed to teaching with English as the main language. The courses began to focus on science and natural philosophy.
In 1905, St. John's College became St. John's University and became registered in Washington D.C. in the United States. It thus had the status of a domestic university and American graduates of St. John's could proceed directly to graduate schools in the United States. As a result, the university attracted some of the brightest and wealthiest students in Shanghai at the time. It was the first institution to grant bachelor's degrees in China, starting in 1907.
The university was located at 188 Jessfield Road (now Wanhangdu Lu), on a bend of the Suzhou Creek in Shanghai and was designed to incorporate Chinese and Western architectural elements.
In 1925, some academics and students left St. John's and formed the Kwang Hua University. In 1951, Kwang Hua was incorporated into East China Normal University.
The university survived World War II and the Chinese Civil War. However, in 1952 the Communist government adopted a policy of creating specialist universities in the Soviet style of the time. Under this policy, St John's was broken up. Most of its faculties were incorporated into the East China Normal University. The medical school was incorporated into Shanghai Second Medical College, which became the School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2005. The campus became the site of the East China University of Politics and Law.
After the Cultural Revolution in mainland China, the surviving personnel of the original St. John's University Medical School administration decided to recognize the students who were mandated to transfer and subsequently graduated from Shanghai Second Medical College with honorable St. John's University Medical School degree; the diploma was signed by their well respected original president of St. John's.
To keep the school's traditions alive, SJU alumni (called Johanneans) have founded three academic institutions bearing the same name: