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In the 1970s, Taiwan's economic development took off, and society's attention to higher education increased day by day. At that time, all well-known universities were located in northern Taiwan, and there was not a single national university in the Kaohsiung-Pingtung area of southern Taiwan. To balance the development of education between the north and the south, the government decided to establish a comprehensive university in the south and named it "National Sun Yat-sen University" in honor of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China. Enrollment began in the fall of 1980. To further commemorate Dr. Sun Yat-sen's achievements, the Ministry of Education granted the request to date Dr. Sun Yat-sen's birthday of November 12th as the anniversary of the University.

Dr. Huan LI, the first president, laid a solid foundation that paved the way for the University to grow. Under the leadership of his successors, Dr. Chin-Chi CHAO, Dr. Chi-Yuan LIN, Dr. Victor Wei-Chi LIU, Dr. Chung-Cheng CHANG, Dr. Hung-Duen YANG, and the current President Dr. Ying-Yao CHENG, the University has continued to thrive and become one of the best universities in the country.

NSYSU is comprised of seven colleges: Liberal Arts, Science, Engineering, Management, Marine Sciences, Social Sciences, and Si-Wan. The university places equal emphasis on both teaching and research of Humanities, Sciences, and Engineering. Since 2006, NSYSU has received additional funding from the Ministry of Education (MOE) through the "Aim for the Top University Plan" and "Higher Education Sprout Project" to enhance teaching and research. Outstanding academic achievements exhibited by many departments have landed NSYSU among the world's top universities in many academic rankings.

The NSYSU campus uniquely situates at the crossing of hills and sea, adjacent to the Kaohsiung Harbor. The geography prompts our feature advancements in marine science research, which heeds to Kaohsiung's aspiration to develop into an Ocean Capital, as we become the leading academic institution of marine sciences in Taiwan. The university encourages interdisciplinary collaboration between oceanographic studies and other academic fields to stimulate new ideas and research directions. NSYSU is ranked in the top 200 by ESI in the areas of engineering, mathematics, and information engineering, and we are also highly competitive in the fields of communications engineering, electronic commerce, materials science, and optoelectronics.

NSYSU has sister-university agreements with over 250 universities from more than 40 countries around the world. Within these partnerships, we engage in student exchange, dual degree programs, joint supervision, research collaborations, and joint symposiums. We dedicate to create an internationalized campus where over 1,200 international students come to NSYSU for degree programs, exchange programs, research fellowships, or language learning. The vast array of activities provides ample opportunities for domestic students and international students to interact and bridge their understanding of different cultures.