History of Harbin Institute of Technology
The Harbin Institute of Technology was originally established in 1920 as the Harbin Sino-Russian School for Industry to educate railway engineers via a Russian method of instruction. Students could select from two majors at the time: Railway Construction or Electric Mechanic Engineering. On April 2, 1922, the school was renamed the Sino-Russian Industrial University. The original two majors eventually developed into two major departments: the Railway Construction Department and the Electric Engineering Department. Between 1925 and 1928 the University's Rector was Leonid Aleksandrovich Ustrugov, the Russian Deputy Minister of Railways underNicholas II before the Russian Revolution and a key figure in the development of the Chinese Eastern Railway.
On February 4, 1928, the institution came under the leadership of the Northeastern Provincial Special Administrative Region of the Republic of China, and was renamed the Industrial University of the Northeastern Provincial Special Administrative Region. On October 20, 1928, the Law College and College of Commerce were incorporated, and the institution was officially named the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), co-managed by China and the USSR, with General Zhang Xueliang as the President of the School Board. Postgraduate students were enrolled from the spring of 1931.
During the Japanese invasion of China in 1935, the university fell under Japanese control. At that time, classes were taught in Japanese only. Furthermore, only Chinese and Japanese students were permitted to enroll. On January 1, 1936, the name of the institution was changed yet again to the National Harbin Polytechnic. By January 1937, the entire educational system had been altered to reflect traditional Japanese instruction. However, on January 1, 1938, the name Harbin Institute of Technology was reinstated, which it has retained up until the present.
After the Allied defeat of Japan in World War II, HIT came under the joint management of the Chinese and Soviet governments through the China Changchun Railway Administration.
In June 1950, the administration of HIT was taken over by the Chinese government, which started a period of full-scale reform and growth. In 1951, HIT was approved by the central government to become one of the two institutions of higher learning to learn advanced techniques from the USSR. HIT then became an important base for learning from the USSR and training students for universities throughout the country. HIT enjoyed a reputation as the 'Cradle for Engineers'.
In 1958, HIT expanded the variety of academic disciplines in which it offered majors such that by 1962 it had fundamentally transformed from a trade based school to a fully-fledged multidisciplinary university, credited with aiding in the construction of a national economy and making important contributions to national defense science and technology.
During this era, enrollment in the university's programs increased dramatically with the largest enrollment exceeding 8000 students. The number of teachers also increased at this time and by 1957 there were roughly 800 teachers responsible for all of the teaching and research duties of the university, each of them on average only 27.5 years old. Their skill and determination, however, earned them the moniker the '800 warriors' of HIT. During this period the research capabilities of HIT greatly expanded and improved. Departments actively sought cooperation agreements with factories and other national research institutes, laying a solid foundation for the integration of teaching, research, and production on a national level.
The Cultural Revolution, which started in 1966, drastically affected the normal teaching capabilities and research activities of HIT.
In Spring 1970, by government order, a small number of HIT personnel and most of the university's research equipment were moved south to Chongqing, and, together with Department 2 of the PLA Military Engineering Institute, established the Chongqing Institute of Technology. The rest of HIT combined with the Heilongjiang Institute of Technology and the Harbin Institute of Electrotechnics to form the new HIT. In August 1973, the State Council and the Military Commission of the CPC Central Committee decided that the Chongqing Institute of Technology should again move back north to Harbin.
In 1977, the undergraduate programs reopened with graduate programs following in 1978 then in 1982 doctoral programs were offered for the first time. In 1984, HIT appeared in the list of 15 favorably built universities. That same year, HIT became one of the first 22 universities to establish a graduate school. In 1992, HIT High-and-New Tech Park was founded. In 1996, HIT was in the first batch of universities to enter the list of Project 211. In November 1999, HIT was appointed by the Central Government as one of the nine best universities to be preferentially built according to the standards of internationally renowned universities.