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Symposium in commemoration of the centenary of Mr. Li Funing's birth held

APR . 11 2017
Peking University, April 7, 2017: On March 24, 2017, a symposium to mark the centenary of Mr. Li Funing's birth was held at the Democracy Building in Peking University. Over 80 people were in attendance, including representatives from a number of institutions (Tsinghua University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, etc.) and in-school departments.
Hosted by English Department and presided at by deputy dean of School of Foreign Languages, Mrs. Li Shujing, the symposium convened eminent PKU professors, as well as a few relations of Mr. Li Funing. At the symposium, the guests expressed their remembrance and admiration for the late master’s distinctive charisma, not only as a learned and patient mentor, but also as a gracious and decent friend.
At the symposium
On behalf of Peking University, Professor Wang Bo, assistant president and director of Office of Humanities and Social Sciences, commenced the symposium with an opening speech, in which he voiced his gratitude for all the guests’ presence. Mr. Li, he remarked, was not a mere tutor in academic studies, but a master of language in its variety, an uncorrupted, genial scholar, and, most venerably, having helped generations of young students develop deliberate appreciation and understanding of life and the world, a spiritual mentor. Wang Bo appealed to professional successors to inherit Mr. Li’s rigorous scholarship and benevolence in life.

Professor Wang Bo delivering his speech
Professor Ning Qi, dean of School of Foreign Lanuages, recalling her tremendous sense of awe when attending Mr. Li’s memorial service, saluted his great influence in society and the academic world, and his unequaled erudition and decency that had won him love and respect. Ning Qi also stated that this generation of language scholars were to have great faith and execute their determination in carrying on the language enterprise.

Professor Ning Qi delivering her speech
Professor Cheng Musheng from Tsinghua University shared his experience working with Mr. Li to launch the course “History of The English Language” for graduate students. Mr. Li, in Professor Mu’s retrospect, was devoted to the cultivation of foreign language talents, sparing no efforts in compilation and education, and laid great emphasis on western literary traditions and the evolution of the English language. Professor Mu applauded Mr. Li’s work History of The English Language (Chinese: 《英语史》) and spoke highly of its contribution as a fundamental masterpiece to the current English studies.
Professor Hu Zhuanglin spoke of Mr. Li’s inseparable “connection” with Tsinghua University, and his bond with Mr. Li as a life mentor, cherishing the memory of Mr. Li’s care and advice. Professor Li Mingbin acclaimed Mr. Li’s ineffaceable dedication to the development of foreign language studies and his great academic accomplishments in Middle and Old English, French, and comparative literature. Professor Dai Hangye shared emotively his memories of Mr. Li’s “learned and honorable” bearing, and, in recollection of Mr. Li’s love and devotion to students, remarked that “Mr. Li’s entire life inherited and developed both historical and contemporary ethos of Peking University”.

Professor Huang Bikang delivering his speech
Professor Gu Zhengkun hailed Mr. Li’s attainments and virtue, recognizing him as a matchless “saint”. Professor Huang Bikang, the last doctor under Mr. Li’s supervision, recalled the meticulous care and guidance he received, and Mr. Li’s love for Peking operas. Professor Gao Fengfeng, Dean of English Department, looking back on his sole experience with Mr. Li as a student, showed great reverence for the master’s elegance and elaboration and stressed that the English Department has retained Mr. Li’s educational spirit and notion, with great emphasis on western ideologies.
Professor Gao Fengfeng delivering his speech
Professor Yan Haiping, dean of Foreign Languages Department in Tsinghua University, entrusted his written commemoration with Professor Zhang Wenxia, Party Secretory of Foreign Languages Department of Tsinghua University. During the symposium, Mr. Zhao Xianglin, the former Consul General of Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Auckland, presented his calligraphy wording “My Dearest Teacher”.

Mr. Zhao Xianglin(left) and Professor Liu Shusen
Following were Professor Wang Shiren’s reminiscences of some of Mr. Li’s personal stories. Mr. Li wrote references for students who once insulted him, helped students in difficult times, and spared no effort to guide thwarted teenagers. Such episodes demonstrated his high moral standards and his kindness. Professor Liu Yiqing added that Mr. Li was also a tenacious and iron-willed man. Mr. Li cared most about of his students in The Cultural Revolution, and after surviving the hardship by virtue of stamina and persistence, insisted that no tragedies of the kind should ever find their way into reality. Professor Han Minzhong and Professor Sheng Ning shared at the symposium many an anecdote concerning Mr. Li. The master was not only a dedicated professor, but an adorable and amiable person. He loved his wife dearly, and was a great laugh among friends and students due to his impressionistic talent.
Memories of the great master mingled with the gentle drizzle in the heaven, seeping silently into our heart and soul.
Written by: Ma Xiao
Edited by: Li Ruiqi
Source: PKU News (Chinese)