Xiamen University was founded in 1921 by Tan Kah Kee, the well-known patriotic overseas Chinese leader. It was the FIRST university in China founded by an overseas Chinese. At present it is the only university in any of five special economic zones and is one of China 's higher-level universities designated for the state key construction of the “211 Project” and the “985 Project”. Currently, Professor Zhu Chongshi is the President of the University and Professor Zhu Zhiwen is the Chairman of the University Council.

Over the past eighty–eight years, as the result of following the school motto: Pursue Excellence, Strive for Perfection , Xiamen University has accumulated rich experience in offering its educational programs and has presented its distinctive features in running the programs. Equipped with a strong team of faculty and staff, Xiamen University, which provides a fairly complete range of programs of education, has become a first-class comprehensive university in China with extensive international influence. Since its founding, Xiamen University has produced more than 150,000 undergraduates and graduates for the country and over 60 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) have studied or worked at Xiamen University.

Xiamen university has a high level team of faculty and staff including 2,383 full-time faculty and professional researchers , including 1322 professors and associate professors. of whom 21 are academicians of CAS and CAE Moreover, 10 faculty members of Xiamen University are seated on the State Council's Academic Degree Appraisal Committee. 12 have been listed in the "One-hundred plus One-thousand plus Ten-thousand Talent Project”; 66 have been included in the Ministry of Education's training program for the "Leading Figure for the New Century";27 have obtained the "Science Grant for National Outstanding Youth" from the state; There are 21 special and 9 speech professorships of “Yangtze Scholar” , 3 “National Innovation Research Team” and 3 “Education Ministry Innovation Group”