1921: Tan Kah Kee, an overseas Chinese philanthropist, founded the private Xiamen University (XMU).
1923: A paper named ‘Amphioxus Fisheries Near the University of Amoy’, the first paper published in Science by Chinese marine researchers, reported the discovery of Xiamen amphiox to the world.
1937: The university became state-owned, and the renowned physicist, Pen-Tung Sah, was appointed as its first president.
1938: Ya-nan Wang, who later became XMU's first president after the founding of the People's Republic of China, along with an XMU alumnus, Dali Guo, completed the first Chinese version of Das Kapital, a significant contribution to the development of Marxian economics in China.
1946: XMU established China’s first department of oceanography and the first marine institute, making it known as the ‘Blue Cradle’ of China.
1952: XMU was designated as one of China’s 14 comprehensive universities.
1963: XMU became one of the 26 national key universities directly governed by the Chinese Ministry of Education.
1978: A research lab on higher education science was established at XMU, which became China’s first institution specifically dedicated to higher education studies.
1987: The State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces was approved. It has been rated as 'Excellent' for five consecutive years in state key laboratory assessments, the only one of its kind in chemistry to achieve this honour in China.
1988: Seven disciplines, including finance, statistics, accounting, higher education, specialized history, physical chemistry, and zoology, were approved as national key disciplines.
1995: XMU was listed among the national '211 Project'.
2001: XMU was listed among the national '985 Project', which aimed at developing world-class universities.
2010: Shell-isolated nanoparticle-enhanced Raman spectroscopy was developed at XMU, a world first. It was called 'the next-generation of advanced spectroscopy' by international colleagues.
2013: XMU researchers discovered a molecular switch between different forms of cell death, and elucidated the key molecular mechanisms and pathophysiological significance of programmed cell necrosis, solving a long-studied question.
2016: Xiamen University Malaysia was launched, making XMU the first Chinese university to open an independent campus overseas.
2017: XMU was selected into the national Double First-Class Initiative.
2019: XMU launched China’s first domestically-made cervical cancer vaccine, a bivalent HPV vaccine, using virus-like particles derived from E. coli. This unique technology has been used in the R&D of other vaccine products, including the world's first hepatitis E vaccine.