It was founded by Methodist missionaries in 1955 as a comprehensive university, the first private university and the second oldest university in Taiwan. The university is located in Xitun District, Taichung, Taiwan, an urbanized area. On the grounds, the Luce Memorial Chapel(designed by noted architects Chen Chi-kwan and I. M. Pei) is a local landmark. The logo of the university contains a cross in reference to the statement in the founding documents that it was "founded in the love of Jesus," and the three linked circles refer to the Holy Trinity as well as the motto, "Truth, Faith, Deeds". The name "Tunghai" is the Wade–Giles romanization of the Chinese characters 東海 (Dōnghǎi in pinyin), literally meaning "the east coast of the Taiwan Strait".