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National Formosa University was founded in 1980 as Provincial Yunlin Institute of Technology by the Taiwan Provincial Government. In 1981, the school changed its name to National Yunlin Institute of Technology (NYIT). Dr. Tien-Chin Chang was appointed as its first president. Five departments were established: Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Mechanical Design, Power Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering.
The departments of Electro-Optical Engineering and Automation Engineering were added to NYIT in 1988. In 1989 Dr. Cheng-Kuan Yu was appointed as the second president by the Ministry of Education. In 1991, the English name of NYIT was changed to National Yunlin Polytechnic Institute (NYPI). The Department of Industrial Engineering and Management was established. Two years later, the Department of Vehicle Engineering was established. In 1994, the Department of Aeronautical Engineering started.
With the approbation from the Ministry of Education in 1997, NYPI was renamed to National Huwei Institute of Technology (NHIT), whose five-year junior college system was to be replaced gradually by two-year and four-year college systems. Due to the retirement of President Cheng-Kuang Yu in 1999, Dr. Feng-Tsun Chen, Dean of Academic Affairs, served as the acting president. Dr. Chien-Chang Lin became the first elected president. The Department of Information Management was established in 2000. On year later. The Department of Applied Foreign Languages began.
In 2002, the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, the Department of Finance, the Graduate Institute of Electro-Optical and Materials Science, and the Graduate Institute of Power Mechanical Engineering were established. In 2003, the Department of Business Administration and the Department of Biotechnology began. In 2004, NHIT was renamed National Huwei University of Science and Technology (NHUST). Four colleges were established: Applied Arts & Science, Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Management. The Department of Multimedia Design, the Department of Leisure Management, the Graduate Institute of Industrial Engineering and Management, and the Graduate Institute of Mechanical and Electro-Mechanical Engineering were established. A master’s degree program was added to the Department of Information Management.
In 2005, the English name of NHUST was changed to National Formosa University (NFU). President Chien-Chang Lin retired; Dr. Yeong-Ley Tsay, dean of Academic Affairs, served as the acting president. The Department of Electronic Engineering was established. The masters degree and doctoral degree programs were initiated at the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Graduate Institute of Electro-Optical and Materials Science, respectively. In 2008, the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, the Department of Automation Engineering, and the Department of Biotechnology began masters degree programs. The Department of Mechanical Design Engineering and the Department of Leisure and Recreation established masters degree programs in 2009. The Department of Electronic Engineering and the Department of Vehicle Engineering established masters degree programs the next year.
In 2011, the Department of Finance established a masters degree program. The Executive Yuan consented to NFU’s procurement of a new campus. The preparatory center for the new campus was started. In 2012, the Executive Yuan allocated a land of 17.18 hectares in THSR Yunlin Station area for NFU new campus. In 2013, NFU received funding from the Subsidy Directions for Developing Technological University Paradigms, the Ministry of Education. Dr. Wen-Yuh Jywe was elected as the president.