Trinity to Launch Study Abroad Program at Fudan University in 2012

​HARTFORD, Conn. – Trinity has become the first liberal arts college in the United States to establish a formal partnership with Fudan University in Shanghai under a Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier this month by Trinity President James F. Jones, Jr. and Peng Xizhe, dean of the School of Social Development and Public Policy at Fudan.

The Trinity-in-Shanghai initiative, expected to get off the ground in 2012, would join existing programs in Rome, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Paris, Trinidad and Vienna. With the establishment of the new program at Fudan, Trinity has achieved its goal of having a study abroad footprint in every major region of the world. This will help the College sustain its goal of sending 70 percent of its undergraduates to study in another country at some point in their academic careers.

The initiatives upon which we are now launched with Fudan will prove invaluable to Trinity faculty and students as the Fudan-Trinity association becomes a reality,” said Jones, who was accompanied on his trip to China by Xiangming Chen, dean of Trinity’s Center for Urban and Global Studies. “I am delighted with the progress our College is making in China and this new partnership with one of China’s most distinguished educational institutions.”

This new initiative will be funded in part by an anonymous couple who have established a $1.5 million endowment to support educational opportunities connecting Trinity to China. This endowment sponsors a summer program, now in its third year, for Trinity faculty and students studying mega-cities on the Yangtze River. The endowment will also provide resources for the new Trinity-Fudan collaboration.

Fudan, a 27,000-student comprehensive university that is among the top ranked in China, already has formal ties with major research institutions in the U.S., including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

By comparison, Trinity is an independent liberal arts college with approximately 2,200 fulltime undergraduates. Noting the other institutions in the group, Jones said Trinity is in “excellent company indeed.”

The announcement of Trinity’s new relationship with Fudan comes on the heels of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to the White House, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech to more than 1,000 Washington, D.C. students encouraging them to study in China. In her address, Mrs. Obama emphasized the need to prepare young people to succeed in the modern global economy and the importance of building relationships with their peers in China.

President Obama unveiled what he called his “100,000 Strong Initiative” during a 2009 visit to China. The initiative is designed to double the number of U.S. students in China by 2014 and eventually raise the total to 100,000. Although fewer than 20,000 U.S. students now study in China annually, the country has quickly become one of the most popular study abroad destinations. In addition, China leapfrogged over India this year in the number of students it sends to the U.S.

“ Studying in countries like China isn’t only about your prospects in the global marketplace.  It’s not just about whether you can compete with your peers in other countries to make America stronger.  It’s also about whether you can come together, and work together with them to make our world stronger.  It’s about the friendships you make, the bonds of trust you establish, and the image of America that you project to the rest of the world,” Mrs. Obama told the Washington, D.C. students.

Accompanied by Chen, Jones visited Fudan University on January 13 and 14. Jones attended a dinner on January 13 hosted by Trinity alumnus Eugene Shen ’76. The next day, Jones signed the Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Trinity-in-Shanghai program.

During his visit, Jones also met with Yang Yuliang, a distinguished chemist who has been president of Fudan University since January 2009. They shared the view that students should be educated broadly and with the aim of becoming global citizens. Jones offered to assist Yang’s efforts to develop a liberal arts-based curriculum for undergraduate students at Fudan College. 

Trinity College President James F. Jones, Jr. and Fudan University President Yang Yuliang

In addition, Jones spoke with faculty members about their teaching and research interests and activities before meeting with administrators and faculty from the Schools of Philosophy and Economics and the Department of Art and Design.

“By setting up the Trinity-in-Shanghai program at Fudan University, Trinity students will have a great opportunity to study with the excellent faculty at China’s third-ranked university,” said Chen. “With this new program being located in Shanghai, a dynamic and cosmopolitan global city of 20 million people, Trinity students will be able to pursue a variety of field research, internships, and service opportunities during their study there.”