Pictures and documents relating to Chengtu University
West China University, Chengtu, Szechwan.

Built about by 1912 - Architect Fred Rowntree & Sons

  History Website for Dibdin, Aglio, Rowntree, Guise, and other Families
History   Homepage Picture Gallery Photo Gallery Museum Articles Sitemap
 

Fred Rowntree

Prints of original drawings for the University 

Chengtu University  - An Article from "The Builder"

Photos Taken by Betty Walters at the University in 1994

Documents relating to the design of Chengtu

Poster celebrating the work of Fred Rowntree in Chengtu

In hardcopy archive
Schedule of  Chinese Helpers N.D.C 1912
Sketch plans
Hand copy of Report submitted in Preparation of Completion Plan

Fred Rowntree arriving at Chentu

Document from China website

West Union Anglia Variations
West China Union University was established in 1910 as a union intervention of the American Mutual Foreign Mission Society, the Friends' Foreign Mission Association of Great Britain and Ireland. the General Board of Missions of the Methodist Church of Canada, (later the United Church of Canada) and the Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church. USA. The Church Missionary Society of England became a partner in the University in 1918 and the Women 's Foreign Missionary Boards of the American Mutual Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the United Church of Canada were admitted to participation in 1925.
In 1911-1912, shortly after Wcuu was established, political unrest forced most Westerners to leave West China, and the activities of the University were in abeyance for two years. Beginning operations lectures in 1913, the University planned an ambitious building program of more than twenty buildings. According to the articles of union. each mission partner in the venture was responsible for purchasing property, erecting buildings for the housing of its staff and academics. and contributing a proportion building for teaching purposes. The Board of Governors of the University purchased property for the teaching buildings and erected the university campus and general administrative and teaching buildings and residences for those members of the staff who a re maintained by the Board of Governors. Accommodations were to be provided for six hundred and fifty 83-103. as well as the faculty and staff.

A firm of British architects, Fred Rowntree and Sons, was selected by competition to design a plan for the Wcuu campus.
The scale of Wcuu 's building program was particularly ambitious considering that before the advent of air travel, three months of travel were required to lawyer Chengtu from Europe or North America. Such difficulties of transport did not prevent Wcuu from developing a well-appointed campus. Of particular note was the installation of a central heating system in the new Library-Museum building. a b rochure from this time period reports :
"Not only is it the first modern heating plant installed in this part of the world, but, as expressed by our Dean of Arts, it is the greatest cultural contribution that has been made. It is expected to transform a deserted building into the center of scholastic activities during long winter evenings and remove the fire hazards of a lot of stoves. "
The Administration Building, designed by British architect Rowntree, was built under the supervision of Superintendent of Construction Raymond C. Richer. Richer's March 21, 1920.
Hart College, built by the Canadian Methodists, was formally opened in April, 1920. It was used by the University for chemistry, physics, and biology laboratories and classrooms, as well as classrooms for the Faculty of Religion. It contained a chapel used for Sunday evening services.
The Coles Memorial Clock Tower, completed in 1926, was the gift of J. Ackerman Coles of New York. To the chagrin of WCUU, Coles died in 1925 and left no provision in his will for the funds necessary to complete the tower. A hefty file of correspondence in the WCUU archives documents the University's efforts to negotiate a settlement with the Coles estate.
The West China Union University was renowned for its medical and dental education programs.
The Faculty of Medicine was organized in 1914. The Faculty of Dentistry was organized in 1920, the first such program in all of China. By 1932 nearly half of all the students at West China Union University were registered in the Medical-Dental College. At that time fifty-eight of the 112 students registered in the Faculty of Medicine were women; six of forty-four students registered in the Faculty of Dentistry were women. The missionary hospitals in Chengtu associated with the Medical-Dental College were treating more than 100,000 people per year in the 1930s.

The West China Union University (WCUU), located in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, was the product of the collective efforts of four Protestant, denominational, missionary boards and eventually became a division of the West China Educational Union (WCEU), which was created in 1906. Once established, the University approached the difficult tasks of educating and converting the people of Sichuan province--an area in size equal to the United Kingdom, France, and Germany combined--as it was the only institution with a Christian purpose in the region. This meant that the faculty and administration were attempting to educate and influence the beliefs of a population in excess of 150 million people.
As of 1914 the WCEU consisted of 106 schools in Sichuan province, serving 2597 boys in their studies, as well as the main university. In addition to the higher education provided by the Educational Union, on the lower levels of education it was in charge of curricula, exams, conferring of certificates, and supervising of first and secondary educational work in all missions. In 1903 Dr. John W. Yost, Dickinson Class of 1903, became the first alumnus to find employment at WCUU; he was a Professor of Education. Professor Yost often corresponded with the administration at Dickinson to request further support for WCUU and for an assistant to aid him in his duties. In response to Yost's request, the President of the College, Dr. James. H. Morgan, published an article in the Dickinsonian Supplement calling for student financial support and also paraphrasing the aims of the College in foreign fields: as he wrote, "the function of a College is to teach men to think in world terms instead of local terms." Furthering this message is the "Dickinson Creed," found in the same issue of the Supplement:
1.) We believe that all men are brothers, and the weakest has the first claim upon our sympathies.
2.) We believe that the college is a place where students become familiar with a world of things. Provincialism is inexcusable among college men.
3.) We believe that no student or alumnus of Dickinson is willing to see his college outdone by other colleges.
Much can be learned from studying how WCUU received its funding. Aside from the support given by the various Dickinson alumni who worked at the WCUU, there was also widespread support from the students during the annual China Fund Drive. Furthermore, there were a few Dickinson trustees who gave greatly to the Dickinson-in-China program. A letter to the Dickinsonian from Dr. John F. Goucher, Class of 1868 and a founding member of WCUU, addressed the question of "where [our] money goes when we send funds to the University." His letter concluded that the money goes to help those Chinese who want to learn. Those whom the school did not have room to teach were turned away, and were thus denied the chance to become Christians. This alone, according to Dr. Goucher, should be enough reason to support WCUU. When Dickinson formed the Dickinson College Extension Board, Dickinson and WCUU drew a step closer as Dickinson devoted permanent administrative and financial resources to the Dickinson-in-China program. This more permanent commitment also heightened the interest of the student body, who each year supported WCUU more and more.
West China Union University was home to Dr. John W. Yost and then Reverend Raymond R. Brewer. The West China Educational Union tied in the old West China Mission where Reverend Frank D. Gamewell was once superintendent. The college taught all subjects and had strong international ties, including with America, England, Canada, etc. WCUU graduates became part of a leading class in China consisting of well trained professionals, intellectuals, and educators. Although the University was shutdown in 1926 and the WCEU was closed shortly thereafter when all foreigners were ordered to leave China, the Chinese scholars who remained there carried on, taught others, and made progess on their own. Therefore, WCUU had lasting effects on education in China.