Tu Chih, who was born in 1901, graduated from Tsinghua College in 1924 and received a Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Minnesota in 1929.
After graduation, Tu returned to China and taught at Lingnan University, Zhongshan University, Wuhan University, Henan University, and Northwest Agricultural College successively. In 1938, Tu served as the director of academic affairs at Xinjiang Agricultural College. In 1952, Xinjiang Bayi Agricultural College (later renamed as Xinjiang Agricultural University) was established and Tu served as its first president. With Tu’s proposal and efforts, the Research Institute of Agriculture, Forestry, and Husbandry was established in 1955 with Tu as its director. In 1964, the institute was expanded with into the Xinjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences.