Sun Yat-sen University is prestigious with fine traditions in teaching and learning. In 1924, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the great leader of China in the 20th century, founded this university personally, and inscribed in his own handwriting the school motto of "Study extensively; Enquire accurately; Reflect carefully; Discriminate clearly; Practise earnestly." The school was originally named Guangdong University, and later renamed Sun Yat-sen University in 1926. In the 1930s, there were seven schools in the University, which were the Schools of Arts, Sciences, Law, Engineering, Agricultural Studies, Medicine and Education.
In 1935, the University set up the Graduate School and began to enroll graduate students. In the 1950s, the colleges, schools and departments were readjusted nationwide, and Sun Yat-sen University became a comprehensive university with the liberal arts and sciences as its backbone disciplines. Since the founding of the new China, Sun Yat-sen University has always been one of national key universities, and is also among the first batch of institutes to award Doctorate and Master degrees and to establish post-doctoral research flowing stations in China. Approved by the State Council, the university was the first to set up graduate school in the South China area in the early 1990s, thus offering a complete range of degrees from the bachelor, master to doctorate.
The University has been unceasingly raising the quality of undergraduate education and has become an important base for training high-level talents. On October 26, 2001, Sun Yat-sen University and the Sun Yat-sen University of Medical Science were merged to form the new Sun Yat-sen University. The Ministry of Education and the government of Guangdong Province signed an agreement, both promising to invest 1.2 billion RMB in 3 years to build the new Sun Yat-sen University into a first class university with high academic standards.
One of the predecessors of the Sun Yat-sen University of Medical Science was the Bo Ji Medical School, which, founded in 1866, was the earliest institution of learning of western medicine in China, where Dr.Sun Yat-sen once studied and engaged in revolutionary activities. The Bo Ji Medical School evolved into the College of Medicine of Lingnan University in 1936. In 1953, the Colleges of Medicine in Sun Yat-sen University and Lingnan University merged to form the College of Medicine of South China, which was joined by the Guangdong Guanghua College of Medicine in 1954. The university was renamed Guangzhou College of Medicine and Sun Yat-sen College of Medical Science successively, and finally Sun Yat-sen University of Medical Science in 1985, which has developed steadfastly into a comprehensive medical university with multi-schools and multiple levels, has reached national advanced level and achieved remarkable successes in scientific research in medical genetics, ophthalmology, tumor study, parasite study, the kidney disease of internal medicine, organ transplant, infectious liver disease, biological medical project and molecular medical science.
Famous scholars and great masters have been gathering at the university to nurture generation after generation of students and to cultivate fine academic vogue, and many gifted graduates have become outstanding figures in all walks of life.
After the reform and opening up of China and driven by the rapid economic growth in Guangdong province, the original Sun Yat-sen University and Sun Yat-sen University of Medical Science have carried out a series of educational reforms and achieved substantial development. Starting from 1993, The Ministry of Education, Department of Health and People's Government of Guangdong province contributed jointly in building the then Sun Yat-sen University and Sun Yat-sen University of Medical Science. In the recent years, both universities have passed the acceptance inspection of the "211 projects"; the various projects of disciplinary development, public service systems and infrastructure construction have been completed smoothly. The merger of the two universities is an amalgamation of two strong institutes, making the syllabus designs more complete and the faculties more comprehensive.