Officials, teachers and students from Nanjing University expressed their deep sorrow over the death of alumni Hu Fuming, who died at 87 on Monday.
Hu, a native of Wuxi, Jiangsu province, was well-known as being the main author of the famous article "Practice is the Sole Criterion for Testing the Truth", which was published in Guangming Daily in 1978.
Hu's funeral will be held at 9:30 am on Friday at Nanjing Funeral Home.
The university posted an obituary and the funeral notice via its official WeChat account, expressing great sorrow over the alumni's death. It said that Hu lived his life on the road of thought, lauding his contributions, wisdom and strength in the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Guo Guangyin, former Party secretary of the university's Department of Philosophy, where Hu worked, recalled that Hu provided the orientation when he arrived at the school to study in 1973.
"Hu told us that those studying philosophy should be knowledgeable and have a reasonable knowledge structure, with good writing and communication skills. They also need to believe and apply Marxism to be talented and good at debate," Guo told Modern Express, a Jiangsu-based news outlet.
"We followed and implemented Hu's requirements in our studies, careers and our own lives after the orientation," the paper quoted Guo as saying.
Li Yang, one of the university students, said that Hu's pursuit of the truth is what every student in the department as well as media workers in the new era should learn, regarding it as the most precious inspiration for the youth, the report added.
Hu entered Peking University to study journalism in 1955, and after graduation he continued studying in the philosophy training program at Renmin University of China.
In 1962, he started his teaching career in the Department of Politics, which later became the Department of Philosophy, in Nanjing University.
He sent the famous article to Guangming Daily in September 1977, which inspired others to study and improve their own writing.
On May 11, 1978, the article was published in Guangming Daily, igniting a nationwide debate on the standards for seeking truth. It was the "first spring thunder "that awakened the Chinese and heralded the emancipation of the Chinese people's minds.
In December 2018, he received the honorary title of "reform pioneer" at a meeting to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up held in Beijing. A year later, he was honored as one of the country's role models.