College joins Chinese university as “sister school”

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January 20, 2011

8:38 PM

Just in time for spring rush, the College of William and Mary has a new sister.

In a Dec. 14 memorandum signed at a ceremony in the Wren Building’s Great Hall, the College announced a partnership with the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in Chengdu, in the People’s Republic of China.

College President Taylor Reveley and UESTC Vice President of International Affairs Wang Houjun signed an agreement that connects the two universities in a collaborative international partnership.

“We look forward to an exchange of faculty and students in academic programs and cultural exchanges between Chengdu and Williamsburg,” Reveley said.

The partnership includes an improved exchange student program, increased communication between the two universities and a number of collaborative projects amongst faculty at both institutions.

UESTC, which was founded in 1956, began as a technical university, but has recently sought to broaden its range of academic prowess.

“UESTC is one of the most distinguished universities in China,” Reveley said after the signing. “The agreement that we sign today is modest, but it contemplates earnest cooperation in the exploration of our future together. History shows that the future often favors modest beginnings earnestly pursued.”

Before the signing ceremony, an UESTC delegation spent three days in Williamsburg visiting the College. The itinerary included tours of College facilities and meetings with scholars, researchers and administrators. The delegation toured the Integrated Science Center, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Alan B. Miller Hall and the Muscarelle Museum of Art.

“The College of William and Mary is the second oldest university in the [United] States, a quality institute of higher learning with a world-renowned reputation,” Houjun said. “Her name is associated with such figures as President George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. We feel so honored to visit this time-honored college and we are fascinated that our two institutes can become sister universities and carry out more extensive collaborations in the future.”

The partnership between the College and UESTC comes at a time when many leaders in both the United States and China, including former president Bill Clinton, have begun to focus more on long-term peace and stability between the two countries. China’s president Hu Jintao made his first official state visit to Washington, D.C. this week.

The College has a number of international partners in higher education through the Reves Center for International Studies, including a joint degree program with the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and the Global Friends Program.

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