On the first of November 2016, National Hsinchu University of Education (NHCUE) formally merged with NTHU and renamed as the Nanda Campus of NTHU. On January 11 of this year a 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 of NTHU; and Hsian-cheng Tseng and Hwei-pang Chen of the former NHCUE.
Underneath the main gateway that is topped with the Chinese characters of NTHU, the six presidents jointly removed a red curtain to reveal the new plaques, a historical moment in the development of NTHU.
"Thanks to your concerted efforts and enthusiastic cooperation, we 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 institutional restructuring, the success of which relies on the joint efforts of administrators, faculty, and students.
President Hocheng recalled 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 as a student, and eventually became its president. Recalling such discussions, Chen said that, "As an alumnus, I once vowed to oppose the merger; but as a 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 the merger, 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 at 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 is equally important that we shall continue at the same level of effort and cooperation so that we can make this merger a greater success.
The plan to merge these two universities was first formulated when Frank Shu was the president of NTHU and Hsian-cheng Tseng was the president of NHCUE. Looking back at the long and arduous process, both are highly satisfied to see that 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 universities is not an easy task 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 restructure the education system in Taiwan and to facilitate interdisciplinary cooperation. In Shu’s estimation, "our success will have a great impact on the entire university system in Taiwan."
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 motivated me was that NTHU would have the best colleges of education and art among all universities in Taiwan.”
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 continued 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 comprehensive research 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 student reporter. He also said that he expects that the addition of NHCUE’s colleges 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 project’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 old sign "Hsinchu University of Education" was taken down. After being removed, the sign was properly packed and sent to the university archives 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.