Shandong University is a public comprehensive university in Shandong, China. It is one of the largest universities in China by student population (57,500 full-time students in 2009) and is supported directly by the national government. Present-day Shandong University is the result of multiple mergers as well as splits and restructurings that have involved more than a dozen academic institutions over time. The oldest of Shandong University's precursor institutions, Cheeloo University, was founded by American and English mission agencies in the late 19th century (as Tengchow College of Liberal Arts in Penglai). Tengchow College was the first modern institution of higher learning in China. Shandong University derives its official founding date from the Imperial Shandong University.