Historic First

In November 1974, under the Committee's auspices, the first group of American university and college presidents traveled to China, spending three weeks as guests of Chinese educational organizations. Dr. Roger Heyns, president of the American Council on Education and former chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, served as delegation leader. In Beijing, the delegation spent time at Peking and Tsinghua Universities, as well as a middle school and a May 7th cadre school, visited Chinese scientific institutes, and attended briefings, including one with the acting secretary general of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The highlight of the trip was a two-hour meeting with then Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping. Following the stay in Beijing, the delegation traveled to Shenyang and Anshan in northeastern China, and then went south to Nanjing, Suzhou, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The focus of the trip was on educational institutions, but there were numerous opportunities to visit communes, factories, and historic areas. Three years later, in November 1977, the Committee hosted the first delegation of Chinese higher education officials to the United States. Over the years, the National Committee has continued to create opportunities for senior American higher education officials to gain a deeper understanding of the People's Republic of China. In 2004, for example, a Special Seminar to China for Leaders of Minority Serving Institutions gave 14 presidents, provosts, vice chancellors, deans, and vice presidents drawn from minority serving institutions the chance to go to China on a two-week study tour.