Fujian Hwa Nan Women’s College (Fujian Hwa Nan Women’s Vocational College) was formerly known as Hwa Nan College, built by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Founded as the preparatory course of Woman’s College of South China in 1908, the college started to construct its buildings in 1912. With the foundation stone laid on December 12, 1911, the project was completed in 1914. Three years later, the school began to establish a four-year undergraduate program, from which the students graduated in 1921, starting with the Department of Education.
Later, with the number of college students increasing, a fund-raising campaign to build a dormitory was launched among students and alumni in 1922, with the completion of the Lydia A. Trimble Hall in 1925. In 1921, the college applied to the State University of New York for the right to grant a bachelor's degree, gaining a provisional certificate of recognition from the Board of Trustees of the university in 1922. After the right to education was withdrawn, it was renamed Hwa Nan College in 1928.
Approved by the Ministry of Education in June 1934, the college opened seven departments of Chinese, foreign languages, education, housekeeping, mathematics, chemistry, and biology. During the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the college moved to Nanping, Fujian, to continue its education. Because the college was a private school with quite an expensive tuition, the students were mostly daughters of officials, gentry, and wealthy businessmen. With a strong Christian color, more than 80% of the college’s students were believers.
According to "Remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive. '" (Acts 20:35), the words "Saved for Service" were the motto of the college. Although known as a kingdom of women, the college attached great importance to the comprehensive development of students' morality, intelligence, physique, art, carrying out social services for women and children.
The Fujian Provincial Archives also kept the cards of graduates of Hwa Nan College from 1921 to 1930, including the scorecard of Ms. Wu Jiahe, who was the eighth graduate of the college. After graduation, she taught at Peiyuan Girls' Middle School in Quanzhou, Fujian, and then went to Singapore to engage in educational work.
After the founding of New China, the school was taken over by the government in 1951. The following year, the college was reorganized and merged with Fukien Christian University to form Fuzhou University, which was renamed Fujian Normal College in 1953 and Fujian Normal University in 1972. The old site was successively used by the School Department, the Department of Chemistry, and the Overseas Education College of the university. Before Liberation, known as the "most beautiful university" in Fuzhou and rated as a cultural heritage protection site in 2007, all the buildings of the college were all in the style of the Republic of China.
In November 1984, with the approval of the State Council, the college was reopened and named Fujian Hwa Nan Women’s College, which was the first privately-run women's higher school with independent qualifications to issue academic diplomas after the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is also a pilot project unit of the reform of the running system of non-profit private colleges and universities sponsored by the Ministry of Education. In 2015, the college passed the second round of higher vocational talents training evaluation; in 2016, the college was awarded as the first "Fujian Province Family Service Vocational Training Demonstration Base".
Consisting of Qishan Campus and Yantai Mountain Campus now, the college has a construction area of 38.54 acres, and a floor area of 20.01acres (81000 square meters), with a total investment of 160 million yuan. With more than 20 majors and 4,000 students, the college started to enroll some male students, and no longer a kingdom of women. Located at the eastern foot of the beautiful Qishan Mountain, it is the only private vocational college stationed in the university town. Since its resumption, it has received strong support from the governments of the Fujian Province and Fuzhou City. President Xi Jinping and other national and provincial leaders have come to the college to inspect and guide the work. President Xi wrote an inscription for the college, "Women are not inferior, and many outstanding women are in Hwa Nan College."
Today, with the spirit of school motto of "self-reliance, exploration, diligence, and dedication", giving play to the advantages of private schools, the college strives to train more high-tech talents for the development of the economic zone on the west side of Taiwan Strait.
(Thanks to the relevant information from Mr. Wu Youli and Fujian Provincial Archives.)
- Translated by Abigail Wu