Visit with PKU leadership and then gymnastics final

This morning we met with Professor Min Weifang, the chairman of the University Council of Peking University. Under the Chinese system of university governance, he is the party chairman, and, as such, he is the highest ranking official at PKU. Even the university president reports to him.

Prof. Min has his doctorate from Stanford, and he is an urbane, polished leader. He has been involved with UNC for some time — and he visited Chapel Hill about a year ago. Chancellor Moeser and he met several times.

He talked about PKU and their vision for the future, especially as it relates to international partnerships with other universities.

I was impressed with many things about him, but especially about the depth of his knowledge of U.S. higher education. For example, he talked about the role of “the three universities” in the development of Research Triangle Park and the wider economic development of the Triangle. Then he enumerated them, “UNC, North Carolina State University, and …” When he paused, I filled in the blank with “that other university nearby.” He said he has recently met with Duke President Richard Broadhead.

We talked about the health sciences at UNC and at PKU, and their plans for the future. I had met with Prof. Ke, the EVP for health sciences a few days ago, and Prof. Min said he knows that heads of medical schools are very powerful and always get their way within a university. I laughed and said that is not always true at UNC, but maybe it is often true.

There will be a joint UNC-PKU conference in Beijing in November, which will feature a number of senior UNC leaders. It will offer additional opportunities to explore partnerships with PKU, the top ranked Chinese institution of higher education.

Meeting with Prof. Min Weifang, the chairman of the University Council of PKU.

Following our meeting, we headed off to the Olympics.

Today we saw the finals of men’s team gymnastics.

It was the first time I have ever seen gymnastics in person. I’ve watched it on TV often but it was really great to be there. It is amazing the feats of strength, balance, and coordination!

We saw a vigorous competition — and ultimately the medal ceremony. China won the gold, Japan the silver, and the USA the bronze medal.

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