Yunnan University was founded in 1922, when it was Private Donglu University. In 1934, it was renamed as Provincial Yunnan University and in 1938 renamed as National Yunnan University. It is one of the earliest comprehensive universities in Southwest China. In 1937, when Xiong Qinglai, the well-known mathematician and educationist, served as the president, a large number of renowned scholars were employed to teach at the university, which laid foundation for its development and profound academic tradition, leading to the first glorious era in the history of Yunnan University. In 1940s, Yunnan University developed into one of the famous large universities in China with international influence and offered courses in arts, law, science, engineering, agriculture and medical science. In 1946, Yunnan University was listed by Concise Encyclopedia Britannica as one of the 15 world's famous universities in China. In 1958, the administrative management of Yunnan University was delegated from the central Ministry of Higher Education to Yunnan province. In 1978, it was ranked by the State Council as one of the 88 national key universities.
Since the reform and
opening-up, Yunnan University has made huge progress. In 1996, it was among the
first universities to win the membership of "Project 211". In 2001,
it was listed as one of the higher education institutions to be intensively
supported in China's development of its western region. In 2004, it became a
key university to benefit from focused support from the People's Government of
Yunnan and the Ministry of Education. In 2006, all its 19 secondary indicators
were A-graded and it was rated as an excellent college for undergraduate
education by the MOE. In 2012, it became a participant of the Central-western
Chinese Universities Capacity-building Project, and a participant in the
Central-western Chinese Universities Comprehensive Capacity Promotion Project.
In 2017, Yunnan University was listed as one of the top 42 "First-class
Universities" in China, and became one of the fourteen “Key Universities in
Central and Western China”.
Looking into the future, Yunnan University will stick to its spirit of "wisdoms from many, justice for all", highlighting rule of law, establishment by virtue, developing by relying on academic research and talents. It will continue to explore the formation of modern university system, enhance its academic strengths, improve its education quality, strengthen its research capacity and social services, promoting its cultural inheritance and innovation capability. It is now working hard to become a regional first-class university that is "best in China, and famous throughout the world".