Nobel Prize Winners Join Opening of China's First Private University for Advanced Study

HANGZHOU, China, Oct. 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Westlake University (Westlake or "the University"), the first private research university in the People's Republic of China, held its grand founding ceremony on 20 October at The Dragon Hotel in the city of Hangzhou, followed by forums on the future of higher education and basic and translational research.

To celebrate the opening of the institution and to exchange ideas on the role of a university, the founding ceremony gathered several renowned scholars and educators, including 5 Nobel Prize winners, Lin Jianhua, President of Peking University; Mark S. Wrighton, Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis; and Wei Shyy, President of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

"Westlake University has been entrusted with the shared dreams of 3 million overseas students and 1.4 million returning graduates," said Yigong Shi, President of Westlake University, at the founding ceremony. "Westlake University has made contributions in exploring the reform of Chinese higher education. Over the years, the development of Chinese higher education and the fostering of innovation has been challenged by the educational system," he said.

The university campus boasts three colleges: School of Life Sciences, School of Science, and School of Engineering. The campus has seven buildings that can accommodate 2,000 researchers and assistants with a total of 120 labs housed within its 106,000 square meters site. A second campus, currently under construction in Yungu, is expected to open in 2021, providing an additional 446,000 square meters of space serving around 300 teachers and 3,000 doctoral students.

Westlake has been making efforts to form a world-class faculty. So far attracting 68 renowned scientists and scholars to join their staff, who have expertise in mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering, information technology, biology, and basic medical sciences among others.

Westlake is the first institute of higher education to accept PhD students from the start. Its first batch of 19 doctoral candidates enrolled in the fall of 2017, while an additional 120 students, who were present at the opening ceremony, have been accepted this year.

"We envision that, in ten or twenty years, Westlake University will become a world-renowned institution of higher education with distinctive Chinese characteristics founded in China," said Shi.

To celebrate the founding, Westlake also invited distinguished educators and scientists to Hangzhou for two forums taking place on October 20, where participants exchange thoughts on the global role of higher education institutes and their role at the frontier of scientific discovery.

About Westlake University

Westlake University is a non-profit research-oriented university supported by public and private funding. The predecessor of Westlake University is Westlake Institute for Advanced Study. The institute was established in Hangzhou on December 10, 2016. On February 14, 2018, Westlake University was established with the approval of the Ministry of Education of China. By 2026, Westlake University is expected to have about 5,000 full-time students, 300 professors, 600 supporting staff members, and around 900 postdoctoral fellows.