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Letter to Student, Staff and Alumni from President Zhou Qifeng
Nov 24, 2008

Dear Teachers, Students and Alumni:


I deeply appreciate the trust the Central Committee has put in me when making the decision to have me fill in the position after Academician Xu Zhihong as President of Peking University. I also hope that I will win the approval, acceptance and welcome of the students, staff and alumni from around the world.


I have always been a “PKU man”. I was enrolled into Peking University in 1965, and remained to work at PKU in 1970. In 1978, I entered the Graduate school at PKU and two years later the government sponsored me to fly to the United States to continue my studies. I returned to work to this day at Peking University since I received my Doctorate degree in May, 1983. During the three years when I worked at the State Council ADC, and Ministry of Education, and the four years which I was President at Jilin University, even though I was physically away from PKU, my work with the Beijing University Chemistry Institute High Polymer Science and Engineering department behind the scenes continued.


Four years ago, I was assigned to the position of President at Jilin University, however subconsciously, other than the obligation of finishing the mission that was assigned to me, I also felt that I was representing PKU in repaying Jilin University, and so I was actually working for PKU, though these were just my personal thoughts.  Historically, Peking University and Jilin University were very closely related, though Peking University was the greater aid giver, she had also received some in return from Jilin University. Academician Chen Jiaer who was once President of Peking University, was a Jilin University graduate. Chen was a wonderful man, and made many positive changes for Peking University. It was precisely things like this which led me to accept my duty as President of Jilin University, bringing with me the urge to return out of gratitude. I would like to tell all the “Peking University men” that I did my best at Jilin University, and now the relationship between Jilin and Peking University has grown and I have also received recognition and acceptance from all the Jilin University men.

The four years I spent at Jilin University was like going through college again. Those four years were very fulfilling and I believe that the things I have learned from this experience will help me also in my next challenge as President of Peking University.  Once again I would like to show my gratitude towards all the people who have given me their trust, support and friendship.

Of course, Peking University isn’t Jilin University. Compared to Jilin University, PKU isn’t as great in size, but she has a much longer and deeper history. PKU’s science department may not be as strong as Jilin University’s, but PKU is a stronger University as a whole. Most importantly, Peking University was the first institution of higher education which was opened in China, and she always improved with our nation and time. Peking University has gone through many constructions and made great advances during the past 110 years, especially after the reform and open policy in the last thirty years. Peking University has become world famous and is the pride of the nation, naturally along with this pride comes high expectations.


As the new President, I feel like I have been given a great responsibility, and I am horrified of letting down all those who have high expectations in me. So under the leadership of the University Party Committee and all the staff and students, I will study harder and work harder in order to contribute to making PKU a world class institution of higher education.


Recently, Mr. Wang Yiqiu published a paper “Building World Class Universities; what are we lacking?” Concerning the position of President, Mr. Wang says, “First class Universities requires their President to be observing the social issues, and have great visions for our society’s future.” I once again realized how heavy the responsibility of PKU holds, and how far away I am from being a First Class University President. I sincerely hope that I will receive aid and support from the leaders, seniors, teachers, staff and student body. For Peking University, I will continuously come to you for aid, please respond to me with patience; I may need your idea, then provide me with wisdom; I may need your sacrificial spirit, then please respond generously; more overly I may make mistakes, then please by all means help me make things better. I hope that I will become qualified President of PKU, but more than that I wish to become everyone’s friend. I thank you all in advanced for your help and support!


Last but not least, I would like to thank Mr. Xu Zhihong. Academician Xu Zhihong has been President of PKU since December of 1999. These nine years have been extraordinary. In that period of time, he has made everyone here work as a team, caring for the students and working hard towards our goal, winning the applauds and respect of the staff and students, while leaving great foundations for the work I am about to carry on. Thank you Mr. Xu! I look forward to receiving advice from you, and I wish you health and happiness!


Zhou Qifeng
November 14, 2008



Translated by: Connie Chang
Edited by: Wang Yi
Source: PKU News (Chinese)