China’s 1st private university inaugurated, borrows fundraising model from Harvard, Yale

China’s first private research university was officially inaugurated in Hangzhou on Saturday in a move that Chinese experts said would push forward national higher-education reform. 

Five Nobel laureates including physicist Chen-Ning Yang and more than 70 representatives of domestic and overseas universities attended the founding ceremony of Westlake University in Hangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang Province. 

Westlake has 68 research group leaders, 139 students under joint supervision at the top Chinese institutes of Fudan University and Zhejiang University and 159 key researchers.   

Schools of natural science, engineering and life sciences are located on a campus that can hold 120 independent laboratories and 2,000 research fellows. 

Another campus to be completed in 2021 will accommodate 300 labs and 3,000 doctoral students.

The university aims to be an explorer of China’s higher-education reform and a world leader in frontier technology, Westlake University President Shi Yigong, a biologist and former vice president of Tsinghua University in Beijing, said at the ceremony.

Westlake University’s financial resources are raised by the non-public Westlake Education Foundation from high-profile business executives. 

Its fundraising model was borrowed from universities such as Harvard and Yale, which are partly supported by social funds and by alumni.