Get to Know Yigong Shi, President of Westlake University and Leader in Higher Education

Yigong Shi is an example of a true leader in higher education. As the president of Westlake University, he has been instrumental in advancing the school’s mission to provide quality education and research opportunities for students. In this article, we’ll get to know Yigong Shi and learn more about his impressive career and accomplishments.

Education and Career Highlights of Yigong Shi

Yigong Shi is a world-renowned leader in higher education. He has made significant contributions to the development of higher education in China and has been a driving force behind the country’s rise as a leading educational power. He is the president of Westlake University and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In 1989, he received a bachelor’s degree from Tsinghua University. In 1995, he received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and then conducted postdoctoral research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. From 1998 to 2008, he served successively as an assistant professor, associate professor, tenured professor, and Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Chair Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. In 2008, he declined the invitation of a Howard Hughes Medical Center (HHMI) researcher. He returned to work at Tsinghua University full-time, serving as the dean, professor, and doctoral supervisor of the School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University. In 2006, he was appointed as the president of Westlake University, leading him to become one of the top research universities in China. On January 9, 2018, he requested to resign as vice president of Tsinghua University, retain his professorship at Tsinghua University, and prepare to establish West Lake University full-time. On April 16, 2018, he was elected as the first president of West Lake University.

Under Shi’s leadership, Westlake University has made great strides in advancing its research capabilities and global reputation. The university is now home to over 30 research institutes and centers, including the Institute for Advanced Study, one of China’s leading research institutes. Westlake University has partnered with prestigious international universities, such as MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and Peking University. These partnerships have helped Westlake University attract top scholars worldwide and build a strong reputation for excellence in research and education.


Yigong Shi is a remarkable leader in higher education. His incredible journey from his early years as an engineering professor to President of Westlake University has been inspiring. He has been a driving force for the positive transformation of universities across China through science and technology. His dedication to creating opportunities for students and faculty alike and his commitment to sustainable development are admirable qualities that will undoubtedly help him continue leading Westlake University into the future.

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