At the end of 2016 National Hsinchu University of Education (NHCUE) was merged with NTHU and renamed the Nanda Campus of NTHU. On January 11 of this year the new name plaques at the entrance of the Nanda Campus were jointly unveiled by six past and present presidents of the two schools: Frank Shu, Wen-tsuen Chen, Lih-juann Chen, and Hong Hocheng (present) of NTHU; and Hsian-cheng Tseng and Hwei-pang Chen of the former NHCUE.
Underneath the main gateway shining in the bright autumn sun and already topped with the Chinese characters for NTHU, the six presidents together removed a red curtain to reveal the new plaques, marking a major development in the history of NTHU.
"Thanks to your concerted efforts and uninterrupted cooperation, we can finally kick the ball into the goal," announced Hocheng, the incumbent president of NTHU. With the participation of both past and present university presidents, the ceremony highlighted that school mergers require an integration of education policy and philosophy, the success of which relies on the joint efforts of administrators, faculty, and students.
President Hocheng mentioned that during the past two years he often met with President Hwei-pang Chen to discuss the merger. Chen entered NHCUE at the age of 16, and eventually became its president; during his tenure he arrived every morning at 7 o'clock. Recalling the merger discussions, Chen said that, "As an alumnus, I once vowed to oppose the merger; but as president, it was my duty to support it to the best of my ability.”
Chen also said that he was especially grateful to Hocheng for assuming the major responsibility for bringing the merger to fruition, adding in German Ende gut, alles gut, (All’s well that ends well), since Hocheng was once a student in Germany.
Comparing the ten-year merger process to a two person-three-legged relay race, Chen thanked all the presidents who were present for the ceremony, saying, "It is your wisdom and courage that has made it possible to bring this race to a successful completion," adding that it’s now essential to carry on the same level of effort and cooperation so as to continue to maintain high standards in the future.
The merger plan was adopted when Frank Shu was the president of NTHU and Hsiancheng Tseng was the president of NHCUE. Looking back at the long and arduous process, both are highly satisfied to see the plan has finally been brought to fruition.
“It’s a great pleasure to see that the merger is finally complete,” exclaimed Shu. He explained that in Taiwan the merger of two schools is not easy to carry out, due to limitations of personal vision and the entrenched viewpoints of different disciplines, whether science, engineering, or humanities. Thus for Shu the merger is a good opportunity to make education in Taiwan more cooperative and interdisciplinary. In Shu’s estimation, "Our success will have a great impact on the whole world."
Tseng compared the merger to the film The Guns of Navarone, in that it was a cooperative effort which brought mutual benefit to all concerned parties, rather than one school rescuing another, adding that, “One thing that really encouraged me was that as a result of the merger NTHU would have the best colleges of education and art in all Taiwan.”
To felicitate NTHU, Tseng sung a song by the well-known songwriter Cheng Chiren titled "A Gentle Breeze Blows the Wind Chimes."
Both Wen-tsuen Chen and Lih-Juann Chen played a key role in the merger by soliciting views and opinions from both schools.
In expressing his enthusiasm for the merger, Wen-tsuen Chen stated, “Once you’ve got your sights set on the right goal, all that remains is to keep moving in that direction!” He said that children's education is very important, and that the merger will ensure that NHCUE’s tradition of excellence in the training of primary and secondary school teachers is sure to be carried on at NTHU.
Wen-tsuen Chen also mentioned that NTHU initially emphasized science and engineering, and later established its Colleges of Technology Management, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and with the addition of the Colleges of Education and Arts, NTHU finally has the scope of a world-class university.
Lih-Juann Chen graduated from the Experimental Elementary School of NHCUE. He mentioned that he has lots of memories of those happy, carefree days, especially the many foreign visitors at the school, some of whom he interviewed in his capacity as a young reporter. He also said that he expects that the addition of NHCUE’s departments of education and arts will go a long way in making NTHU one of the top universities in the world.
The presidents also thanked the plan’s administrative team for their hard work over the past ten years, especially the two vice presidents, Hwai-pwu Chou of NTHU and Chi-hui Lin of NHCUE, who should be regarded as the "chief engineers" of the merger. President Hocheng said that there was a stretch of time when the seven-member team from the two schools met and worked overtime almost every week, despite regular protestations from their families.
Prior to the name change, on weekends and holidays quite a few NHCUE alumni were seen at the main gate taking souvenir photos before the sign "Hsinchu University of Education" was taken down. After being removed, the sign was properly packed and sent to the school history room for permanent preservation.
All six past and present presidents of NTHU and NHCUE have their thumbs up to celebrate the successful merge. jointly unveiling the new name plaques at the entrance of the Nanda Campus of NTHU. From left to right: Wen-tsuen Chen, Hsiancheng Tseng, Hong Hocheng, Hwei-pang Chen, Frank Shu, and Lih-juann Chen.
All six past and present presidents of NTHU and NHCUE have their thumbs up to celebrate the successful merge.