A high-school dropout who taught himself while working to pay off family
debts has made national headlines after graduating with a doctorate and
landing a teaching job at a university in southern China.
Jin Wan, 21, dreams of having her own art studio. That may sound like
nothing special for a university student majoring in animation design,
but for Jin it’s part of a long struggle. She lost the ability to walk
when she was five years old and is now confined to a wheelchair.
“My dream is very practical, isn’t it?” Jin asks, while sitting at home
in a living room that also serves as a makeshift painting studio.
Li Mingyong attributed his success to not being afraid to lose,and a
determination to hit his target,Beijing Youth Dailyreported.
As a center of learning with a history of more than 100 years, Wuhan
University continues to quicken the pace of becoming a truly
international institution, as Zhao Xinying and Liu Kun report from
Wuhan, Hubei province.
For Jin and her family, September 2, 1996 is a day etched in memory. Jin
awoke that morning and was unable to sit up or control her legs. She was
taken to hospital where doctors diagnosed transverse mytlitis and
radiculitis, neurological disorders that would leave her paralyzed for
University targets place in world’s top 200 ranking
“It felt like a bolt from the blue,” Jin recalls.
The 41-year-old,born in a remote village in Meitan county,Guizhou
province,had to quit school at age 16–despite always being in the top
three of his class–after family members fell ill and had to borrow
Research venture with Duke in US aims to tackle global problem
Good-bye to her childhood dream of becoming a dancer.
“WHU’s goal is to promote internationalization, which is important to
any university if it wants to be a worldclass or prestigious one.”
Her childhood became an endless stream of medical treatment. She had to
take medicines that caused hair loss and undergo arduous rehabilitation
In 1999,Li worked as a security guard at Guizhou Education University
and,influenced by the campus atmosphere,decided to resume his studies.
LI XIAOHONG WUHAN UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT
Her mother quit a sales job to take care of the daughter. The family had
to rely on her father’s income of about 1,500 (US$242) a month from a
security guard job.
Wuhan University, located in the capital of Hubei province, is stressing
its strategies of internationalization to extend its prestige across the
Life was hard, but Jin proved to be a tough little girl. She dried her
tears and took on life with a determination to conquer adversity.
For about two years,he found time to study during school hours and
continued after 11.30pm,when he was officially off duty.He was admitted
to an associate degree course,which did not require full-time study,at
the university’s Chinese department,taking the Higher Education
Examinations for Self-taught Adults.
This year, the university was listed for the first time among the top
400 in the QS World University Rankings, a widely recognized
international list published annually by Quacquarelli Symonds in the
United Kingdom. Wuhan ranked 335.
Many years later, when she participated in a TV program, the director
asked her to be a bit more sentimental on air to create an atmosphere of
sadness. Jin replied with a smile that she would never cry again.
In 2011, the university was among the top 400 on the Times Higher
Education World University Ranking, another list.
With the dream of becoming a dancer gone, she found a new passion in
He was admitted to a bachelor’s degree course two years later.
But Wuhan is not satisfied with what it had achieved. Its latest goal is
to break into the top 200 and become a world class university by 2020,
according to Li Xiaohong, the school’s president.
At the age of eight, she started to draw, testing her talents across a
broad range, from Chinese calligraphy to Chinese paintings, from oils to
watercolors, from painting to sketching.
“WHU’s goal is to promote internationalization, which is important to
any university if it wants to be a worldclass or prestigious one,” Li
She was a natural talent and a quick learner. In 2011, Jin had her first
art exhibition as a painter and calligrapher. It was a great success.
In 2007,Li was admitted to a master’s programme of aesthetics at Guizhou
University,working part time as a tutor to support himself.
He added that the school’s international reputation has evolved in
recent years. Its joint venture with Duke University in the US — to
create Duke Kunshan University — is one example.
“I paint with my heart to show my feelings toward the nature I respect,
toward the people I love and toward the life I treasure,” Jin says.
Receiving final approval from the Ministry of Education in 2013, DKU was
founded in Kunshan, Jiangsu province.
She is now confidently pursing her dream through study at East China
He went to Guizhou Education University to work as a tutor in the
English department after graduation so that he could help with the
Li said the concept succeeded for three “inevitable” reasons:
Jin pushes herself to excel. As a primary school student, she set her
sights on top grades in homework. If she failed, she always re-did the
homework until she got it right. When she decided to pursue painting and
calligraphy, she practiced artwork for endless hours.
“The two universities have a lot of similarities in terms of
disciplines. We are both very strong in the humanities and some other
areas,” he said.“And we share the same dream to be international.”
Her confidence comes from the support of friends who encourage rather
than pity her.
Li was admitted to a doctorate programme at Central China Normal
University in 2015–after two failed tries–and graduated this summer.He
chose to go back to Guizhou Education University,where his destiny was
changed,to teach in the school of culture and media.
Richard Brodhead, president of Duke, said educators there began to think
of the possibility of a cooperative in China in 2009, and then started
looking for a Chinese partner. During the search, they were introduced
to Wuhan University.
“I guess it is my personality that makes me popular among friends,” Jin
says. “I love being straight and candid, not in traditional style of
Shanghai girls who are difficult to get along with.”
“You can see the advantages: WHU is a Top 10 university, the same as
Duke is. They entered with a spirit of adventure. They gave their time,
their effort and became truly good partners,” Brodhead said.
Her confidence also comes from her capabilities. She was told upon
enrolling in university that her admission was approved because of her
talent, not her disability.
Welcoming its first group of students in August, DKU unveiled the first
phase of its campus — 16 hectares in Kunshan — on Nov 17.
Jin is making a name for herself in the art world. This summer, she
auctioned some of her paintings, earning more than 70,000 yuan.
What was also unveiled on the same day was the establishment of the
WHUDuke Research Institute for the school, a joint research platform
that will facilitate research on some global issues, including health,
economics and environment.
She used the money to buy herself a 50,000-yuan pair of walking braces
to help her stand up. She donated the rest of the money to unidentified
Brodhead said people from Wuhan and Duke have forged an interesting
working relationship since both sides signed their first agreement in
Jin always keeps herself busy. She does volunteer work teaching mentally
challenged children how to write and paint, and took part recently in a
photography event at a care home for senior citizens.
- Now, the new institution provides a site for partnerships not only
between Duke and WHU but potentially for other universities as well.
Dreams lead to dreams. Jin says she wants to help disabled people get
the most out of their lives.
Li said the research institute is the first one to be formed in a
Sinoforeign joint venture university.
“Every heart can feel what love is,” she says. “If you don’t go after
what you want, you’ll never achieve it.”
“By bringing experts in the fields of, for example, business, health and
some other areas together to do research, we hope to boost the
development of DKU and build it into a model of its kind. We want to
make the research institute a worldclass one in the future,” he said.
Zhang Yan, 19
Li was also proud to share the news that WHU was ranked at 105 on the
recently released 2014 Nature Publishing Index, which lists institutions
according to the number of primary research articles they publish in
“I want to find my little brother, who must be a teenager by now.”
“It’s a huge leap for our university, and it’s a recognition of Wuhan’s
research ability,” Li said. “It’s also one of our dreams to enter the
Top 100 on the NPI list in the near future, which we believe is a
realistic and achievable goal.”
Zhang Yan, 19, a native of Chongqing and soon-to-be sophomore at Fudan
University, has a special dream apart from the usual ambitions for a