Guizhou University, founded in 1902, was first known as Guizhou Institute of Higher Learning. Other names have included Provincial Guizhou University, National Guizhou College of Agriculture and Engineering, and National Guizhou University. After the founding of New China, it officially adopted the name “Guizhou University” in October 1950. In November 1951, Chairman Mao Zedong inscribed the name 'Guizhou University'. The University was suspended in 1953 due to a nationwide adjustment of China’s higher institutions. Guizhou Agricultural College was established in the same location. In 1958, Guizhou University was re-established and in the same year Guizhou Institute of Technology was built. In August 1997, Guizhou University, Guizhou Agricultural College, Guizhou Institute of Arts, and Guizhou Agricultural Cadre-Training School merged to form Guizhou University, becoming the only key and comprehensive provincial university prioritizing construction within “211 Project” framework and also one of the universities supported particularly by the Ministry of Education in the western provinces (regions). In August 2004, Guizhou University and Guizhou University of Technology merged to form the current Guizhou University. In December of the same year, the Guizhou Provincial People's Government signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education to co-build Guizhou University. In September 2005, it was recognized as one of the national '211 Project' universities.
Having weathered over 100 years of ups and downs in education endeavor, including changing names and sites several times, Guizhou University has been forged into an institution committed to sustained academic excellence. Throughout its history, Guizhou University has embodied its mission of invigorating education and cultivating talents in a spirit of 'Diligence, Independence, Perseverance.' This mission comes from the University’s motto: 'Illustrious Virtue, Utmost Goodness, Extensive Learning and Earnest Practice '. Prioritizing Guizhou’s development and bearing the responsibility of serving local communities, GZU has grown from a small institute into a huge university, becoming more resilient and competitive. Thanks to its efforts in pursing sincerity, truth, and innovation, as well as a deep culture, GZU has been credited for nurturing a considerable number of outstanding talents and providing manpower resources and intellectual assistance for the socioeconomic advancement in China and particularly in Guizhou.