Wu Yifang (1893-1985)(Chinese:吴贻芳), a native of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, was one of China's first female university students and first female university president. She studied at Hangzhou Girls' School and Shanghai Qiming Girls' School starting in 1904.
In 1916, she entered Jinling Women's University and was elected chairwoman of the Student Union for her excellence in academics and organizational capability. She later led her schoolmates to participate in the May 4th Movement in 1919.
In 1919, she became a teacher in Beijing Women's Higher Normal School. In 1922, she went to study in the USA and received a doctor’s degree in Biology and Philosophy in 1928. She returned to China in the same year and became the President of Jinling Women’s University – the first female university president in China. She was president for 23 years.
In 1945, she attended United Nations Conference and was the first female to sign the Charter of the United Nations. After 1949, she became a leader at Jinling University, Nanjing Normal College and Nanjing Normal University. She later served as director of Jiangsu Education Department and vice governor of Jiangsu Province.
In 1979, Wu received the "Goddess of Wisdom Award," presented by the University of Michigan for outstanding women in the world.
Since holding the post of president at Jinling Women's University, Wu stuck to her goal of training talented women who devoted themselves to public service. She made "Housheng" the school's motto. "Housheng" means that the aim of life is not only living for oneself, but living to help others and the society with one's own intelligence and ability – this not only benefits other people, but also enriches one's own life.