Yanjing University was the most famous mission university in modern China. It was established in 1916 by merging several mission colleges in northern China. These colleges included Beijing Huiwen University, the North China Union College in Tongzhou, the North China Union College for Women in Beijing, which were run respectively or jointly by the American Presbyterian Church, Methodist Episcopal Church, Congregational Church, London Missionary Society and so on.
At the beginning, it was called Peking University. Since it was sponsored by various churches and was a merger of several colleges, the university's management was in chaos. There had never been a satisfactory principal until John Leighton Stuart took the position. At that time, John Leighton Stuart was one of the famous missionaries in China and later became US Ambassador to China. Once he took the position, he reformed the university and changed its name into Yanjing University. Then he began to construct a new campus and collected donations from various circles of the society.
After several years of efforts, the university became the most beautiful one in China. In terms of teaching principles, the university did not emphasize Christian education. Both teachers and students enjoyed great academic liberty. After 1929, College of Arts, College of Science and School of Law were set up and the total number of departments was brought to about 20. Graduates of the university were active mainly in education, politics and religion.