I was honored to join Wenzao in February 2015 and given the opportunity to initiate the School’s 50th anniversary celebration. I sincerely hope that from this milestone, together with students and faculty we can begin a new chapter for Wenzao for the next 50 years.
Wenzao’s education ideals are based on the firm beliefs of the Christian faith and the education spirit of the Roman Union of the Order of Saint Ursula which has been passed down for the last five hundred years. Therefore, although Taiwan’s recent education environment can be described as eventful, as long as we continue to believe in the core values and education goals of "revere the divine and love the human," we will remain prosperous. Forty-nine years ago Wenzao was founded based on this mindset when it took on its arduous mission; forty-nine years later, as President, I aim to pass down this legacy. I see this as the Lord’s divine calling as well as the expectations of students and faculty. I shall fulfill all that is expected of me.
The sisters from the Order of St.Ursula founded Wenzao in 1966, with its founding framework based on the education philosophy of St. Angela Merici and its mission as a Catholic school. The School believes and respects each individual’s unique values and potential. Through language and professional education with Chinese culture as its basis, Wenzao provides students with an understanding of diverse cultures. Wenzao emphasizes holistic education and is willing to help all students to discover their potential through development in accordance with their own unique characteristics. Wenzao cultivates students’ spirit to care for and contribute to society and to embrace the spirit of selflessness; students are also trained to develop global perspectives and become leaders through servant leadership. In recent years, Wenzao has "trained students to become 3L Wenzaorians" which points to the School’s education goals, which are "Life", "Language" as well as Christian "Leadership."
As of August, 2015 Wenzao entered its 50th year. For the past half century, as with the Ursulines’ spirit in providing education for the last five hundred years, by identifying and responding to social needs and cultivating talents accordingly, Wenzao has continuously identified current social needs in order to carry out the necessary reforms and improvements. Those fifty years can be divided into four "progressive" periods of significant changes and reforms as mentioned below:
1. Establishment and Early Development (1966~1980): Wenzao Ursuline Junior College of Modern Languages for Girls
In the 1950s, Kaohsiung was Taiwan’s most important harbor city for import, export and industry. There was a pressing need for intermediate language and commerce professionals. In view of this, Most Rev. Joseph Cheng Tien-Siang of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kaohsiung believed that developing college education should be the most effective method to serve and support national and social needs. He then invited the well-known Order of St. Ursula which was famed internationally for its education contributions to come to Kaohsiung. In 1966, "Wenzao Ursuline Junior College of Modern Languages for Girls" was founded with English, French, German and Spanish language programs. Within the following decades the School produced exceptional language professionals who have been well received both at home and abroad.
2. Expansion and Development (1980~1999): Wenzao Ursuline Junior College of Modern Languages.
In the history of education in the West, the Ursulines have always been regarded as pioneers in providing education for women; they have been renowned across the globe for about five hundred years. Wenzao was initially founded with the mission of nurturing women into educated and ethical contributing members of society. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, Taiwan went through numerous diplomatic changes. Wenzao, known for training language talents, also acknowledged the national and social needs at the time for more diverse diplomatic talents with language abilities. And so once again in response to national development needs, the School began to accept male students in addition to female students and thus changed its name to "Wenzao Ursuline Junior College of Modern Languages." The School also added the Japanese language program and continued on with its professional bilingual language training, Chinese culture-oriented foundation, enrichment of cultural literacy, holistic character development, as well as bringing out each individual’s inner potential. In terms of liberal arts education, the School provided students with more diverse options to better prepare them for future social needs.
3. Growth and Preparation for University Status (1999~2013): Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages
Between the 1980s and 1990s, in the wake of globalization and the impacts resulting from the upgrading and transformation of Taiwan’s industries, the qualities for desirable talents changed as well. Wenzao remained vigilant regarding the changing needs, and applied to the Ministry of Education for restructuring to college status in order to train even more sophisticated language professionals. In 1999, Wenzao successfully became a language college. In the following decade, the School successively developed various programs, including the two-year college, four-year college, the Division of Continuing Education and graduate institutes. By 2013, the School had already established twelve departments and five graduate institutes, while retaining its junior college programs. During this phase, although faced with many major changes and challenges, such as a considerable increase in student and faculty size, the School remained firm in its education ideals and steadily progressed while continuing to promote its advantages, such as language and holistic education. The School also improved its software and hardware equipment and instruction systems, steadily preparing itself for university status.
4. Maturity (2013~onwards): Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages
In August 2013, restructuring was approved and the School was officially re-named as "Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages." The School’s academic framework now consists of four colleges, with twelve departments and institutes and six academic centers. The Division of Continuing Education simultaneously established bachelor’s degree programs for "International Business English" and "International Tourism and MICE." Student population has reached more than 9,000. With the full support of the Board of Trustees as well as the joint efforts from students and faculty, the School’s development in terms of faculty, quality of academic research and instruction, as well as software and hardware equipment standards have met expectations. The digitalized and internationalized School can now fully demonstrate the qualities expected of a language university.
Looking to the future, Taiwan is faced with uncertainties and pressure from global competition. How should Wenzao innovate and restructure in order to continue with its mission?
I know full well that in addition to the foundation laid down by our predecessors for the past fifty years, as long as we continue upholding our founding mindset (values), core development principles (ideals) and continue to answer global needs (mission), in the next half century, Wenzao will not only continue to gain a firm foothold in Taiwan, but will also connect with the rest of the globe.
"Wenzao 50, Ever Renewed!"
Joy and peace to us all!
The design concept: The small tree standing on the slope symbolizes that Wenzaorians are willing to take challenges. In spite of all obstacles, they endeavor to grasp opportunities and bring school a prosperous future.
Theme: Wenzao 50 Ever Renewed
"Leap" suggests that Wenzao will leap onto a new realm. "Wenzao 50, Even renewed" indicates that after half a century, Wenzao shall continue to shine, grow, and prosper.
Wenzao was founded as a pioneering effort in language education and talent cultivation.
The admission of male students was approved to cultivate many more that aspire.
Wenzao was reconstituted with full college programs.
Wenzao was officially renamed a university to better connect to the world.