The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University, is presented with a gift by Tong Xiaojiao, president of China's Hunan First Normal University during a meeting at NU on May 3.

Officials from Hunan First Normal University, a prestigious institution located in Changsha, China, met with administrators and faculty at Niagara University earlier this month.

The colleges signed an academic collaboration agreement in China in December 2016, which signified a mutual desire to work together on undergraduate and graduate educational exchange programs, especially in the fields of teacher educationbusiness and computer science.

Chinese students from HFNU are also expected to participate in Niagara University’s English Summer Camp, which immerses participants in American culture and English language instruction.

The HFNU representatives, including Tong Xiaojiao, the university’s president, visited Niagara May 3 to meet with the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., NU’s president, and other academic officials, and take a guided tour of campus.

“It is our obligation as a premier institution of higher learning to develop students who think globally in their respective academic disciplines so that they can be most effective when they graduate from Niagara University,” Father Maher explained. “This requires us to increase global academic engagement for our students, which our partnership with HFNU does, as a means to ensure that our curricula reflect the broad scope of international innovation and knowledge. We want to continue to create a laboratory of learning at Niagara University where students from all different backgrounds and walks of life can come together to share ideas and lend their unique perspectives on the world.”

The predecessor of Hunan First Normal University was Southern Changsha City Academy, which was founded by Zhang Shi during the Nan Song Dynasty (1127-1279). In 1993, the academy evolved into Hunan Normal School, which then became Public Hunan First Normal School in 1912 and, later, Hunan Provincial First Normal School. After the liberation of China, it was renamed Hunan First Normal School. In 2008, the school was upgraded to the status of an undergraduate university and took on its current name. To learn more, please visit