In March, NTU’s school flower, the azalea, bursts into blossom, heralding the return of spring and brightening every corner of the campus. In celebration of this vibrant explosion of color, the university organizes the annual Azalea Festival, which encompasses an entire month of exciting events showcasing life on the NTU campus.
On March 16, NTU President Si-Chen Lee presided over the opening ceremony of this year’s Azalea Festival, Department Expo and Student Club Expo. In his address to the audience, President Lee said, “I will leave my post as president in just three months. Former President Wei-jao Chen first proposed the idea of the Azalea Festival in 1996, and the Secretariat Officehas been organizing the festival for 17 years now. The festival takes place after the release of the results of the national university entrance exam each March. Its primary purpose is to give high school seniors an introduction to the departments in which they are interested and to attract the finest students in Taiwan to enroll at NTU. Moreover, the festival takes advantage of the blossoming of the azaleas to showcase the beauty of the campus and the university’s outstanding learning environment.”
President Lee was also delighted to report that Times Higher Education has ranked NTU among the top 60 universities in its 2013 World Reputation Rankings, and that in-coming NTU President Pan-Chyr Yang has already declared his goal of moving the university into the ranks of the top 50. President Lee called on the high school seniors to make NTU their first choice.
Ever since the first Azalea Festival was first held in 1997, the annual festival has drawn thousands upon thousands of students and family members from all over Taiwan each year. At this year’s Department Expo, held in the NTU Sports Center, 54 NTU departments set up booths to introduce their courses, professors and development plans to prospective students. Department representatives at the colorful booths provided visitors with precious information about the university’s many departments. The Student Club Expo filled the areas outside the NTU Sports Center and along nearby roadways, featuring booths of almost 160 clubs. The clubs organized colorful performances and fun activities to show the high school students the exciting diversity of extracurricular activities NTU students enjoy.
Besides these events, the Azalea Festival featured a wide range of arts and culture events. The monthlong art exhibition, “Ten Landscapes of National Taiwan University,” showcased ten sketches by Prof. Fon-Jou Hsieh to illustrate the NTU’s history and the beauty of the campus. For the Azalea Festival Museum Concert, renowned Taiwanese violinist Chia-Hong Liao was invited to perform “Spring” and “Summer” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.