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October 24, 2019

Main icons of Yangon University

The Judson Church in the Yangon University. Photo: Zaw Min Latt

Judson Church
Sir Charles Alexander Innes, who was the Chancellor of Yangon University during 1927-30 and 1931-32 academic years laid the foundation of Judson Church on 27 July 1931. The steeple has 180 stairs from the ground to the top. It was once the highest tower in Yangon.

 

Over 100-year old Thitpok Tree is considered the main icon of the Yangon University.

Old Thitpok Tree or the witness of the university life

The over 100-year old Thitpok Tree (Tetrameles Nudiflora.R. Br. Datiscaceae) is located in front of the Science Hall near Adipati (Chancellor) Road and Convocation Hall. The old tree existed together with other trees even before the buildings appeared on the university campus. As more and more students arrived at the university at the start of the new academic year in the early rainy season, the tree becomes green again with new leaves. The tree starts to shed leaves in December and January when the examinations are drawing nearer. Students leave the old tree when the summer holidays arrive. At that time the tree has already become barren. But when rainy season starts, the tree becomes green again with new leaves and the university campus is also crowded again with students. So it has been standing as the symbol of the university for over 100 years. It was installed with Blue Plaque as a heritage of Yangon by YHT.
This is the first blue plaque which commemorates the natural heritage of Yangon.
Thitpok (Tetrameles nudiflora. R. Br. Datiscaceae) is a deciduous tree and one of the most well-known trees in Yangon. Although it is difficult to tell the exact age of the tree, it is undeniable that the tree has been in the campus since University of Yangon was set up in 1920.
Thitpok Tree is considered the main icon of University of Yangon, along with the Convocation Hall, Judson Church, the Inya Lake and Kantkaw trees (Ironwood).
Throughout its life, the tree has welcomed and said goodbye to generations of students. It has witnessed student movements since the colonial times. It has featured in literature portraying the university.
The tree is not only important to the University of Yangon, which itself will celebrate its centennial in 2020, but also invaluable for the city of Yangon.

The Convocation Hall of the Yangon University. Photo: Zaw Min Lat

Convocation Hall
Buildings including the university itself were erected on the 400-acre compound of Yangon University. The Convocation Hall is a priceless place and a prominent structure for students.
The Convocation Hall is also surrounded by beautiful flowering plants big and small.
It is always an auspicious place for the university.

Bago Hall. Photo: Zaw Min Latt

Yangon University Library
It was built in 1931. A rich man of Indian origin and his wives donated K 200,000 for the library project. The government conferred an honorary doctorate on him for his contribution. Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler, who was the Chancellor of Yangon University and the Governor of Myanmar at that time, laid the foundation of the library on 18 December 1927. The library was commissioned into service in 1928 although it was completed in 1930-31. A committee was established to accept donated books.
Yangon University had University College Library and Judson College Library since its establishment.
The two libraries served as the reference bank for students and teachers. The goal of Yangon University Library was to serve as a research centre.
Hence, it collected copies of stone inscriptions, history of civilization, ancient literature, books on the culture of Myanmar and books on India, China, and Southeast Asian countries. In 1940, it had 23,433 books. They are rare books.

Bago Hall
It was built in 1928. Its name represents Otha Bago, a historical city. It has been a hostel since its completion. Its hostel tutors include renowned persons like Brig-Gen Maung Maung Win, U Thein Han (Zawgyi), U Wun (Minthuwun). Prominent persons who once stayed at Bago Hall included, U Thein Han (Zawgyi), U Wun (Minthuwun), former prime minister U Nu, ambassadors U Hla Maung and U Pe Kin, General Aung San, Col Maung Shwe, and film director and actor Bo Ba Ko.
The bed, table, cupboard, box, umbrella used by General Aung San and documentary photos were displayed at the room where he stayed during his days as a university student.

The Chancellor Road. Photo: Zaw Min Latt

Adhipati (Chancellor) Road
Adhipati (Chancellor) Road is one of the significant places or structures of Yangon University. It has been a character of novels and short stories compiled by renowned writers, songs composed by well-known creators and poems written by famous poets. Originated at the university gate, the road passes through Pinya, Thaton, Bago, and Mandalay halls before reaching the Convocation Hall.
All these structures and places remind every alumnus of the good old days he/she spent as a student at Yangon University. — Zaw Min Latt

(Translated by TMT)

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