Xiamen University (XMU) located in Xiamen, Fujian province, is the first university in China founded by overseas Chinese. Established by Mr. Tan Kah Kee in 1921, the university was originally known as the University of Amoy. The school motto is "Pursue Excellence, Strive for Perfection. The university is one of many comprehensive universities directly administered by the Chinese Ministry of Education. In 1995 it was included in the list of the 211 Project for the state key construction; in 2000 it became one of China's higher-level universities designated for the state key construction of the 985 Project. Xiamen University had 20 schools containing 43 departments, and many key research institutes.
In 1919 Mr. Tan Kah Kee the well-known overseas Chinese leader, donated millions of dollars to establish and endow Xiamen University, officially founded in 1921. It is regarded as one of the most prestigious and selective universities in China. Mr. Tan handed over Xiamen University to the government in 1937 due to lack of funds, and the institution subsequently became a national university. In 1938, at the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the university temporary relocated to Changting in Min Xi county, western Fujian. At the end of World War II in 1946, Xiamen University moved back to Xiamen and resumed normal operations. In 1952, Xiamen University became a comprehensive university, and has been designated as a national key university since 1962.
Then, in 1952 it became a comprehensive university embracing both arts and science. In 1963, it was designated as a state key university. In 1995, it was included in the list of the "211 Project" for the state key construction; in 2000, it became one of China's higher-level universities designated for the state key construction of the "985 Project". Xiamen University has long been considered to be a "diplomatic cradle" where many children of Chinese and foreign dignitaries go for their higher level education. Although the actual reason for the high concentration of diplomatic children is unknown, it is rumored that the reason is due to the abundance of foreign national professors as well as its proximity to southern Asian countries in case of national emergencies. Various wealthy Hong Kong families also seem to like Xiamen University as a reputable place for their children.
Xiamen University's main campus is located in Siming District, southwestern Xiamen. Located at the foot of the green mountains, facing the blue ocean and surrounded by Xiamen bay. The main campus is picturesque with beautiful scenery and parks, and is one of the main tourist attractions in the heavily-touristed Xiamen. The university also has campuses at Xiang'an and Zhangzhou. A new campus is being built in the mainland district of Xiamen, Xiang'an District. Construction began in 2011 and the first phase is scheduled to be completed in 2013. The new campus will cover 243 hectares and is expected to accommodate 30,000 students. Xiamen University has a built area of 2.6 million square meters and its libraries (the Xiamen University Libraries) hold 3.5 million volumes. The scope and level of its high-speed information network on campus is rated at the top of all universities in China and has become one of the main nodes of CERNET2.
Overseas Education College (OEC) is the institution of higher learning in Xiamen University specialized in overseas education. Founded in 1956 and formerly known as Overseas Correspondent College and other names, it is one of the oldest institutions in China offering teaching programs for overseas students. OEC got its present name in 1991 with the approval from the Ministry of Education. OEC includes the Department of Chinese, Distance Education Center, Office of Overseas Students, Research Institute of Overseas Chinese Education, etc. It is one of the four national Southeast-Asia-oriented Chinese teaching bases in China and one of the key institutions designated by the Office of Overseas Chinese Affairs of the State Council to support China's neighboring countries in teaching Chinese. Since its establishment, the Overseas Education College has enrolled more than 20,000 overseas correspondence students and over 6,500 overseas students from more than 90 countries and regions. Therefore, the Overseas Education College has been praised for "imparting knowledge all over the world and thus gaining a good reputation throughout the five continents".
Overseas Education College will move from Siming campus to Xiang'an campus in September of 2013. The new campus provides student apartments with four bedrooms, four balconies, a living room and a bathroom, usually accommodating two students in each bedroom. The apartment is fully equipped with facilities like air-conditioner, wooden sofa, tea table, safe, cooking table, water heater and internet access (application needed). The passage is cleaned regularly and there are security guards in that area as well as each building.