In March, China 111 Project at the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University (NW A&F) in Yangling sponsored crop and soil environmental sciences professor Naraine Persaud for a visit and to discuss possible academic linkages.
In these meetings, NW A&F Vice-President Pute Wu, a professor in the field of water saving agriculture, expressed an interest in making connections through sports. As a goodwill gesture, Tim East, associate director of athletics for external affairs at Virginia Tech’s Athletic Department donated a genuine Hokie regulation football to NW A&F. Yufeng Zou, coordinator for China 111 Project in NW A&F, received the football and formally presented it to Wu on behalf of Virginia Tech.
At the presentation, Wu said, “I’m grateful and very much appreciate holding an American football for the first time. While we do not now play American football at NW A&F, that does not mean our students are not interested in the sport which they’ve seen on television. We envision that with continued cooperation between our institutions, we may someday have a football game between teams from NW A&F and Virginia Tech.”
NW A&F started as Northwest Agricultural University. Established in 1934 in Yangling, Shaanxi Province, it was the first national agriculture university in China. In 1999, it was renamed Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University after merging with the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Soil and Water Conservation and its Institute of Botany (Northwest China), the Institute of Water Resource Sciences (Northwest China), the Shaanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Shaanxi Academy of Forestry, and the Northwest Forestry College.
NW A&F has since expanded rapidly and is one of the top three of China’s agriculture universities in research and teaching. It belongs to the exclusive China’s Project 985 club, which includes the top 5 percent of the 2,101 colleges and universities all around China. Enrollment in 2011 was 28,816 students served by 1,619 faculty in 23 academic colleges.
The city of Yangling is about 80 km from the ancient walled city of Xi’an and is home to the famed Terra Cotta warriors, the most visited of UNESCO World Heritage Archaeological sites.