Milestones | Duke Kunshan University


January 2010

Duke University signs a cooperation agreement with the government of Kunshan city to establish Duke Kunshan University and a groundbreaking ceremony is held at the site of the new campus. In attendance is Richard Brodhead, president of Duke University.

September 2010

Phase 1 construction of the campus begins.

January 2011

Duke University and Wuhan University sign a statement on cooperation principles, establishing Duke Kunshan as a joint-venture between the two institutions.

August 2012

China’s Ministry of Education grants preliminary approval for the creation of Duke Kunshan University.

September 2012

Liu Jingnan, scientist and former president of Wuhan University, becomes the first chancellor of Duke Kunshan. Mary Brown Bullock, former president of Agnes Scott College and a scholar of U.S.-China relations, is appointed executive vice chancellor.

December 2012

Duke officials, American diplomats and Chinese government officials join Duke alumni in China for a grand ceremony to celebrate the Ministry of Education granting approval to Duke Kunshan.

September 2013

China’s Ministry of Education grants final approval to Duke Kunshan, allowing the university to begin student recruitment for its graduate programs.

October 2013

Duke Kunshan’s Global Health Research Center is established.

November 2013

The university’s Board of Trustees holds its first meeting at Wuhan University.

December 2013

The joint-venture university is registered as a legal entity.

January 2014

Duke Kunshan’s Advisory Board is established. It holds its first meeting the following May in Beijing.

July 2014

The university’s master of management studies program (MMS) is launched, with classes initially held on Duke’s campus in Durham, North Carolina.

August 2014

Duke Kunshan welcomes its first students in the MMS, M.Sc. in global health and M.Sc. in medical physics programs, as well as students taking part in the undergraduate Global Learning Semester program.

November 2014

The WHU-Duke Research Institute is established at Duke Kunshan.

April 2015

Duke Kunshan hosts the 2015 Duke International Finance Forum, an event co-organized with Fuqua School of Business and Duke Law School.

May 2015

The MMS program holds a graduation ceremony for its inaugural class.

June 2015

Denis Simon is appointed executive vice chancellor following the retirement of Mary Brown Bullock.

October 2015

Duke Kunshan’s Education Development Foundation holds its first board meeting.

January 2016

The international master of environmental policy (iMEP) program is launched.

March 2016

Duke Kunshan becomes the first Chinese university campus to be certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

May 2016

The inaugural classes in the medical physics and global health programs graduate. The university launches its Environmental Research Center.

November 2016

The university launches the Regional Ozone Sino-U.S. Collaborative Research Center with the government of Jiangsu province, which administers Kunshan, as well as the PRCEE-Duke Kunshan Joint Laboratory on Quantitative Environmental Policy Analysis in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy.

December 2016

Duke University’s Board of Trustees approves the establishment of a four-year undergraduate liberal arts degree program at Duke Kunshan.

February 2017

Duke Kunshan’s establishes the Computational Imaging Research Lab.

March 2017

China’s Ministry of Education approves Duke Kunshan’s application to offer eight undergraduate majors.

April 2017

The university establishes its Data Science Research Center and the Institute of Applied Physical Sciences and Engineering.

August 2017

The international master of environmental policy (iMEP) program welcomes its inaugural class.

November 2017

The Humanities Research Center and the Center for the Study of Contemporary China are established.

March 2018

The Ministry of Education approves Duke Kunshan’s application for seven new undergraduate majors, taking the total to 15.

May 2018

The university establishes the China Innovation Research and Training Center.

August 2018

Duke Kunshan welcomes its inaugural undergraduate class of 262 students. The university also launches a master of engineering in electrical and computer engineering.

September 2018

Youmei Feng is sworn in as the new chancellor of Duke Kunshan, succeeding Liu Jingnan.

November 2018

The Chongzhi Zu Center for Mathematics and Computational Sciences is established.

May 2019

April/May 2019

The inaugural class in the international master of environmental policy (iMEP) program graduates at ceremonies held in Kunshan and Durham, North Carolina.

August 2019

A groundbreaking ceremony is held to launch phase two construction of the campus. In attendance are senior representatives from Duke University, Wuhan University, Suzhou and Kunshan. The Innovation Building also officially opens, marking the end of phase one construction.

August 2019

The master of electrical and computer engineering program welcomes its inaugural class.

October 2019

Blue Oasis, the university's multipurpose student center, opens at Dayu Bay, just south of campus.

February 2020

Working with Duke University, Duke Kunshan designs and launches a dynamic online learning strategy in just three weeks in response to Covid-19.

July 2020

Al Bloom is appointed executive vice chancellor, succeeding Denis Simon.