Monument of National Southwest Associated University

In July 1937, Nankai University was bombed by Japanese Army to the ground and had to retreat southward Changsha, where it merged with Peking University and Tsinghua University to form Changsha Temporary University. In 1938, the three universities moved to Kunming. It was here that the well-known National Southwest Associated University was formed. The presidents of the three universities, Jiang Menglin, Mei Yiqi and Zhang Boling co-hosted the school affairs as members of the standing committee.

Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Nankai University have different history and academic styles, but all teachers and students uphold the motto of National Southwes Associated University - “Perservance in Personality”, and sincerely united and cooperated in extracurricular activities and teaching activities during the eight years. “Over the past eight years, cooperation never stopped. In spite of their differences, the three universities shared something and worked together without standing in others’ way. Different colors bring out the best in each other and the ensemble of musical notes makes for the song of harmony”. It became a gorgeous part in the history of Chinese higher education. After the victory of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, the teachers and students set up a Monument to National Southwest Associated University on the school site in memory of this precious history, as the three universities were about to return to the north. It said “This stone is the symbol of our unyielding spirit, whose existence commemorates the past and reminds future generations.”

The Monument to National Southwest Associated University built in Nankai University in 1988

On October 17, 1988, Nankai University established a Monument to National Southwest Associated University on the west bank of Mati Lake on the campus, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its founding. The monument is composed of three parts: the main monument, the emblems of three universities, and the cornerstone recording the past years. The main monument is a huge stone in the shape of Chinese character “Shan”, which is formed by three rocks. The inscription on the front body of the monument is an inscription composed and written by Professor Huang Yusheng, who was the former Secretary-General of Nankai University and the former President of the Normal College in National Southwestern Associated University. The date of inscription “November 1, 1987” is the 50th anniversary of the opening of Changsha Temporary University. And November 1st is the anniversary of National Southwest Associated University.

The inscription of the monument is as follows: 

“Monument to National Southwestern Associated University for the 50th Anniversary. Outstanding teachers from three universities were brought together to cultivate talents from all over the country. Even in a hostile environment, they insisted their beliefs in science and democracy and went through the hard time together, full of energy and ambition. With memory of the eight years in Kunming, we welcomed the arrival of the 21st century.”

Yusheng Huang


The emblems of the three universities were carved respectively on three slates, which were erected to form a triangle. The emblem of National Southwest Associated University was inlaid on the top of the joints of the three slates, symbolizing the history when the three universities were united to one. The 9 cornerstones engraved with the year from 1937 to 1945 were tokens of the eight years with hardship and glory.

The Monument to National Southwest Associated University built in Nankai University in 2007

On September 13, 2007, in memory of the 70th anniversary of its founding, Nankai University rebuilt the monument to National Southwest Associated University at the west end of Dazhong Road. This monument was inlaid in a circular-arch stone with a height of about 5 meters and a width of 2.7 meters, which was a copy of the monument on the original site of National Southwest Associated University in Kunming, Yunnan Province. The inscription written by Feng Youlan and the lyric of the school song of National Southwestern Associated University, composed by Luo Yong according to the tune of “Manjianghong”, were “Two Precious”. They were as known as the title of the monument, which was written in seal character (a style of Chinese calligraphy) by Wen Yiduo. The three were called “Three Masterpieces”.

The spirit shaped by Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Nankai University would be upheld and inherited through the Monument to National Southwest Associated University. It represented a resolve to cooperate to develop education and resist the enemy. In the eight years, the most important reason why the three universities had been able to seek common ground while reserving differences, apart from their history of “being good friends”, was that, they were consciously responsible for the historical mission of developing education to save the country. Therefore, the three universities could fight against Japanese Aggression from the beginning to end without considering their own interests. As stated in the monument, “The three universities united as a whole like brothers, sharing hardship and enjoyment. The mission of the unity is over now.”

It is a spirit of advocating science and pursuing democracy. In the eight years, National Southwest Associated University upheld the spirit of compatibility, helping to transfer the atmosphere of society. It established the standard of academic freedom internally and atcted as the fortress of democracy externally. Instead of blindly following the crowd, it insisted the belief, fully demonstrating the Chinese intellectuals’ responsibility.

It is a spirit of strong patriotism. On the back of the Monument, it is engraved with the list of the students who joined the army since the Anti-Japanese War. Professor Tang Lan who worked at the Department of Chinese Literature in Peking University after the war wrote the title of the inscription in seal chararcter, Professor Liu Jinnian in the Department of Mathematics wrote the inscription. This list shows the world the strong patriotism of the faculties and students of National Southwest Associated University, clearly expressing the lofty respects to the more than 1,100 faculties and students who joined the army during the war. This is a concentrated expression of “patriotism”, which is one of the values of National Southwest Associated University, and it has become “a treasure” in the educational history of China and the world.