Fudan's 70-year-old auditorium to reopen after renovation
A 70-year-old auditorium at Fudan University will reopen next month following renovation and expansion in the past year.
Originally called Denghui Hall, Xianghui Hall was an important assembly venue for Fudan. It was built in 1947 at the site of a dormitory building for male students.
The building was overhauled in 1984 to celebrate the university’s 80th anniversary and renamed Xianghui Hall to commemorate Ma Xiangbo, founder and first president of Fudan University, and Li Denghui (also known as Lee Teng Hwee), a Yale University graduate and president of Fudan between 1913 and 1936.
The new building covers 5,047 square meters, including the original 1,777 square meters in the historical south part and the new 3,270 square meters in the north.
The historical south part kept its original appearance with its two old lamps at the entrance and the first wall clock produced by Shanghai Diamond Clock Factory remaining.
The 483-seat auditorium on the second floor remained while the space on the first floor was transformed into multifunctional rooms and an entrance to the theater was created in the north building.
The 751-seat theater in the new building, with large LED screen and an orchestral stage which could rise, will be a new cultural performance center in the university. It will stage musicals, dramas, concerts, films and conferences.
Having served in Fudan for 23 years, Li was respected for developing the university into a modern higher education institute with a western outlook and Chinese characteristics. He was also a successful educator and at least 26 of his students later became presidents of famous Chinese universities, including Tsinghua, Fudan and Zhejiang.
Li was the first to give a speech in the two-story building on July 5, 1947, inspiring Fudan graduates to serve the society, the country and all human beings. That speech was also his last because he died in November that year.
Many famous international figures have given speeches there, including former French President Giscard d’Estaing, former US President Ronald Reagan and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
It was listed as one of Shanghai’s outstanding historical buildings in 2006.