An imperial edict issued in 1896 by Emperor Guangxu, established Nanyang Public School in Shanghai. The normal school, school of foreign studies, middle school and a high school were established. Sheng Xuanhuai, the person responsible for proposing the idea to the emperor, became the first president and is regarded as the founder of the university.
During the 1930s, the university gained a reputation of nurturing top engineers. After the foundation of People's Republic, some faculties were transferred to other universities. A significant amount of its faculty were sent in 1956, by the national government, to Xi'an to help build up Xi'an Jiao Tong University in western China. Afterwards, the school was officially renamed Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Since the reform and opening up policy in China, SJTU has taken the lead in management reform of institutions for higher education, regaining its vigor and vitality with an unprecedented momentum of growth. SJTU includes five beautiful campuses, Xuhui, Minhang, Luwan Qibao, and Fahua, taking up an area of about 3,225,833 m2. A number of disciplines have been advancing towards the top echelon internationally, and a batch of burgeoning branches of learning have taken an important position domestically.
Today SJTU has 31 schools (departments), 63 undergraduate programs, 250 masters-degree programs, 203 Ph.D. programs, 28 post-doctorate programs, and 11 state key laboratories and national engineering research centers.
SJTU boasts a large number of famous scientists and professors, including 35 academics of the Academy of Sciences and Academy of Engineering, 95 accredited professors and chair professors of the "Cheung Kong Scholars Program" and more than 2,000 professors and associate professors.
Its total enrollment of students amounts to 36,307, of which 1,674 are international students. There are 16,116 undergraduates. After more than a century of operation, Jiao Tong University has inherited the old tradition of "high starting points, solid foundation, strict requirements and extensive practice." Students from SJTU have won top prizes in various competitions, including ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, International Mathematical Contest in Modeling and Electronics Design Contests. Famous alumni include Jiang Zemin, Lu Dingyi, Ding Guangen, Wang Daohan, Qian Xuesen, Wu Wenjun, Zou Taofen, Mao Yisheng, Cai Er, Huang Yanpei, Shao Lizi, Wang An and many more. More than 200 of the academics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering are alumni of Jiao Tong University.