Central University of Venezuela
Universidad Central de Venezuela
|Motto||La Casa que Vence la Sombra|
(Spanish, "The house that defeats the shadow")
|Established||1721(Universidad Real y Pontificia de Caracas)|
|Rector||Cecilia García Arocha|
|Campus||World Heritage Site, Urban, 1.642 km²|
The Central University of Venezuela (or Universidad Central de Venezuela, UCV, in Spanish) is a public university of Venezuela located in Caracas. It is widely held to be the highest ranking institution in the country, and it also ranks 18th in Latin America. Founded in 1721, it is the oldest university in Venezuela and one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.
The main university campus, Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas, was designed by architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva and it is considered a masterpiece of urban planning and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.
The origin of the university goes back to Friar Antonio González de Acuña (1620–1682), a Peruvian Bishop who studied theology at the Universidad de San Marcos and founded in 1673 the Seminary Saint Rose of Lima in Caracas named after the first Catholic Saint born in the Americas. In the following years, Friar Diego de Baños y Sotomayor broadened the scope of the seminary by creating the School and Seminary of Saint Rose of Lima in 1696. Yet, in spite of the creation of the seminar, students who wished to obtain a university degree had to travel great distances to attend universities located in Santo Domingo, Bogotá or Mexico City. Given such harsh circumstances, the Rector of the Seminary, Francisco Martínez de Porras and the people of Caracas requested the royal court in Madrid the creation of a university in Venezuela (then part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada). As a result, on 22 December 1721 Philip V of Spain signed in Lerma a Royal Decree that transformed the School-Seminary into the Universidad Real y Pontificia de Caracas. The Royal Decree was concurred by Pope Innocent XIII with a Papal bull in 1722. The university offered degrees in Philosophy, Theology, Canon law and Medicine. Until 1810, when the Seminary of Saint Bonaventura located in Mérida became the Universidad de Los Andes, the Universidad Real y Pontificia de Caracas was the only university existing in the country.
Until the end of the 18th century, the official papal and royal censorship on books was largely ignored in Venezuela, a situation which allowed the smuggling of the works by Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot, Montesquieu, Locke, Helvetius, Grotius in the ships belonging to the Guipuzcoana Company.
The Royal constitution was displaced by the Republican Statutes proclaimed by Simón Bolívar on 24 June 1827. The new statutes gave the institution a secular character and transferred the main authority to the Rector.
On December 1908, Juan Vicente Gómez came into power with a coup d'état against the government of Cipriano Castro. Gómez stayed in power until his death in 1935, and during this time the Dictator, having ambivalent feelings about the purpose of educating free minds when he could hire foreigners to exercise any technical requirements for the nation, decided to close the university from 1912 to 1922. When it reopened, the Rector Felipe Guevara Rojas had reorganized the traditional division of only a few schools, separating them into departments.
1928 became a very important year for the university when a group of students, known as the Generation of 1928, organized events during the "Students Week" protesting the dictatorship which culminated in an attempt to overthrow Gómez on 7 April of that year. This group, which shared a common front against Gómez, was conformed by people like Rómulo Betancourt, Miguel Otero Silva, Juan Oropeza, Isaac Pardo and Rodolfo Quintero. Most of them were jailed after the events or went into exile without being able to finish their studies.
The university continued to be at the forefront of the democratization of the country when in 1936, then President Eleazar López Contreras, ordered a decree suspending the Constitutional rights and declaring a general censorship of the press because the oil workers decided to start a strike (an unprecedented deed at the time). The Rector of the University, Francisco Antonio Rísquez, led the protest that followed through the streets of Caracas against the policies of López Contreras.
By 1942, the student population had been growing steadily for decades without any significant expansion of the University. Instead several schools, like Medicine, were moved to other buildings around the city. The administration of President Isaías Medina Angarita felt the need to move the university to a larger and more modern location where it could function as coherent whole. The government bought the Hacienda Ibarra and the responsibility of the main design was given to the architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva after a visit to the University City of Bogotá convinced the authorities of the Ministry of Public Works that, in order to avoid constructing a group of heterogeneous buildings, the design should be under one architect.
The new campus was going to become a vast urban complex of about 200 hectares and included 40 buildings. Villanueva worked with 28 avant-garde artists of the time, from Venezuela and the rest of the world, to build what continues to be one of the most successful applications of Modern Architecture in Latin America. Villanueva's guiding principle was the creation of a space where art and architecture cohabited in harmony in a "Synthesis of Arts". Among some of the most important pieces present in the university are the 1953 Floating Clouds by Alexander Calder, murals by Victor Vasarely, Wifredo Lam, Fernand Léger and sculptures by Jean Arp and Henri Laurens. The Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas was declared World Heritage by UNESCO, and it is the only modern university campus designed by a single architect to receive such high honor.
In 1958, after the fall of dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez, a government commission established a new law for the universities. The new law came into place on 5 December, guaranteeing that faculty and students could work in an environment of freedom and tolerance. This very important legal foundation was however abused during the 1960s when guerrilla rebels, supported by Fidel Castro took refuge inside the university campus to escape prosecution from the government. This tense situation came to a stalemate in 1969 when students asking for a reform took over the university. On 3 October 1970, the administration of President Rafael Caldera ordered the university to be raided by the military and Rector Jesús María Bianco was forced to resign. The university reopened in 1971 with a new Rector and a new plan for renovation.
In terms of the academic development of the modern university, the second half of the 20th century was a time when the Central University's faculty body benefited greatly from the influx of European immigrants. Many intellectuals settled in Venezuela after the end of the Spanish Civil War and World War II and found jobs at the university. Those scientists and humanists helped develop lines of research and teaching at the university and educated many of the present generation of faculty members.
Organization and degrees
The university is organized into 11 schools (Facultades) which are subdivided into 40 departments (Escuelas).
All schools offer undergraduate degrees at the level of Licenciatura (5 years) and graduate degrees at the level of master's degree (2 years) and PhD (3–4 years) from the Graduate School. The Graduate School, founded in 1941, offers 222 different specializations, 109 Master's degrees and 40 PhDs.
- Humanities and Education
- Law and Government
- Social Sciences and Economy
The Ranking Iberoamericano de Instituciones de Investigacion based on the Institute for Scientific Information ranked the Central University of Venezuela as the most productive research institution in the country and as the 20th most productive in Latin America. Other top 25 positions were reached in the following areas:
- 8th in Law
- 10th in Social Sciences
- 12th in Psychology and Education
- 15th in Physiology and Pharmacology
- 16th in Philology and Philosophy
- 16th in Food technology
- 18th in Mathematics
- 18th in Medicine
- 21st in Plant and Animal Biology
- 21st in History and Art
- 22nd in Architecture and Civil Engineering
- 22nd Molecular Biology
- Francisco de Miranda (1750–1816) General, political thinker; fought in the main three revolutionary wars of the 18th century, American, French and South American.
- Andrés Bello (1781–1865) Poet, lawmaker, philosopher, educator and philologist.
- Sylvia Constantinidis (1962) Pianist, composer, conductor, music educator, author, writer. (Original name: Maria Silvia Castillo Casanova Arismendi de Constantinidis).
- Juan Germán Roscio (1763–1821) Lawyer, main redactor of the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence.
- Andrés Eloy Blanco (1896–1955) Poet.
- Miguel Otero Silva (1908–1985) Writer, journalist and co-founder of the newspaper El Nacional.
- María Teresa Castillo (1908–2012) Journalist, activist, politician and founder of Caracas Athenaeum.
- Alberto Barrera Tyszka (1960) Writer.
- Ivian Sarcos (1989) model and Miss World 2011.
- José Gregorio Hernández (1864–1919) physician.
- José González-Lander (1933–2000) engineer, chief designer of the Caracas Metro.
- Alfredo Jahn (1867–1940) engineer, anthropologist.
- Manuel Núñez Tovar (1878-1925) naturalist, researcher, parasitologist and entomologist.
- Luis Razetti (1862–1932) physician.
- Rafael Villavicencio (1832–1920) physician.
- Carlos Benito Figueredo (1857–1935) journalist, politician and diplomat.
- Alexis Navarro (1946–2016), former Governor of Nueva Esparta (2000–2004)
- Alfredo Peña (b. 1944) journalist, member of the constituent assembly which drafted the 1999 Venezuelan Constitution and mayor of Caracas (2000).
- Teodoro Petkoff (b. 1932) congressman, co-founder of the political party MAS and current chief editor of the newspaper "Tal Cual".
- Ali Rodriguez (b. 1937) secretary-general of OPEC (2000) and chairman of Petroleos de Venezuela PDVSA.
- Hermann Escarrá (b. 1952) member of the 2017 Constituent National Assembly.
- Irene Sáez (b. 1961) mayor of Chacao, Governor of Nueva Esparta and Miss Universe 1981.
- Henrique Capriles (b. 1972) former Presidential candidate who has held many high offices
- Juan Requesens (b. 1989) National Assembly deputy for the State of Táchira, Primero Justicia leader
- Lorenzo Mendoza Fleury (1897–1969) founder of Empresas Polar, a prize in his name honors scientific research.
- Carlos Eduardo Stolk (1912-1995) founding member and representative of the United Nations for Venezuela as well as President and Chairman of the Board of Empresas Polar.
- Eladio Lárez (b. 1941) ex-president of Radio Caracas Television.
- Miguel Enrique Otero (b. 1950) mathematician, (also faculty for five years) chairman and owner of the newspaper El Nacional.
Presidents of Venezuela
- José María Vargas, (also Rector, faculty and alumnus) scientist (1835–36).
- Andrés Narvarte, lawyer (1836–37).
- Pedro Gual Escandon, lawyer (1859, 1861).
- Guillermo Tell Villegas, lawyer (1868–69, 1870, 1892).
- Guillermo Tell Villegas Pulido, lawyer (1892).
- Antonio Guzmán Blanco, lawyer (1879–1884).
- Raimundo Andueza Palacio, lawyer (1890–1892).
- José Gil Fortoul, political scientist (1913–1914).
- Juan Bautista Pérez, lawyer (1929–1931).
- Rómulo Betancourt, (did not finish) (1945–1948).
- Rómulo Gallegos, (did not finish) writer (1948).
- Germán Suárez Flamerich, (also Faculty) lawyer (1950–52).
- Edgar Sanabria, (also Faculty) lawyer (1959).
- Raúl Leoni, (did not finish) (1964–1969).
- Rafael Caldera, (also Faculty) political scientist (1969–1974), (1994–1999).
- Carlos Andrés Pérez, (did not finish) (1974–1979), (1989–1993).
- Luis Herrera Campins, (did not finish) (1979–1984).
- Jaime Lusinchi, physician (1984–1989).
- Ramón José Velásquez,(also Faculty) historian (1993–94).
- Lorenzo Campins y Ballester (1726–1785) Spanish born scientist, founder of the studies of medicine.
- Fr. Baltasar de los Reyes Marrero (1752–1809) (also alumnus) began the teaching of modern science and philosophy based on the theories of Newton, Kepler, Copernicus, Stahl, Lavoisier, Locke, Condillac, Leibniz and Wolff. In 1789 he was convicted by the Crown as an infidel for teaching doctrines forbidden by the King.
- Juan Manuel Cagigal (1803–1856) mathematician.
- Alejandro Chataing (1873–1928) (also alumnus) mathematician, architect.
- Agustin Codazzi (1793–1859) Italian military, scientist and geographer
- Domenico Milano (1810-1880) Italian agronomist engineer, started in 1843 the Faculty of Agronomy ("Escuela Normal de Agricultura").
- Fermín Toro (1806–1865) politician and linguist.
- Alejandro Ibarra (1813–1880) scientist.
- José Gregorio Hernández (1864–1919) (also alumnus) physician, began the teaching of Microbiology in Venezuela.
- Adolf Ernst (1832–1899) Prussian born scientist, started the teaching of natural history based on Charles Darwin and Lamarck.
- Luis Razetti (1862–1932) (also alumnus) physician, began the teaching of modern surgery in Venezuela and wrote an influential code of ethics for the practice of medicine.
- Abraham Abreu (b. 1939) pianist and harpsichordist.
- Mario Briceño Iragorry (1897–1958) writer.
- José Balza (b. 1939) novelist, critic.
- Rafael Cadenas (b. 1930) poet.
- Manuel Caballero (1931–2010) (also alumnus) historian, journalist.
- Alejo Carpentier (1904–1980) writer, musicologist, journalist.
- Isaac Chocrón (1930–2011) economist and theater writer. Director of the School of Arts.
- Nicolas Curiel (b.1931) writer and director of theater.
- Gustavo Herrera (1890–1953) lawyer and diplomat.
- Gaston Diehl (1912–1999) French art historian, recipient of the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film in 1950.
- Juan David García Bacca (1901–1992) Spanish born philosopher; translator of the complete works of Plato.
- Gertrude Goldschmidt (1912–1994) German born artist.
- Joaquín Gabaldón Márquez (1906–1984) lawyer and diplomat.
- Ezra Heymann (b.1928) Rumanian born philosopher.
- Martha Hildebrandt (b. 1925) Peruvian linguist.
- Chibly Abouhamad Hobaica (1929–2005) lawyer, professor and writer
- Eugenio Imaz (1900–1951) Spanish born philosopher.
- Pedro Itriago Chacín (1875–1936), lawyer, historian.
- Margarita López Maya, historian, humanist.
- Ernesto Mayz Vallenilla (1925–2015) (also alumnus) philosopher, rector of the Universidad Simón Bolívar.
- Juan Nuño (1927–1995) (also alumnus) Spanish born philosopher.
- Manuel García Pelayo (1909–1991) Spanish born political Scientist, elected president of the Constitutional Tribunal of Spain in 1980.
- Manuel Pérez Vila (1922–1991) Spanish born historian.
- Pedro Antonio Ríos Reyna (1905–1971) classical musician.
- Federico Riu (1925–1985) (also alumnus) Spanish born philosopher.
- Angel Rosenblat (1902–1984) Polish born philologist.
- Levy Rossell (b. 1945) writer and director of theater.
- Mariano Picón Salas (1901–1965) writer, cultural critic.
- José Antonio Ramos Sucre (1890–1930) (also alumnus) poet, writer.
- Oscar Sambrano Urdaneta (1929–2011) writer, essayist and literary critic.
- Guillermo Sucre (b. 1933) (also alumnus) literary critic.
- Arturo Uslar Pietri (1906–2001) (also alumnus) writer and historian, winner of the Prince of Asturias Award (1990) and Rómulo Gallegos Prize for Best Novel (1991).
- Carlos Raúl Villanueva (1900–1975) architect, one of the great Modernists.
- Guillermo Tell Villegas Pulido (also alumnus), politician, writer and historian.
- Pedro León Zapata (1929–2015) artist and humorist.
- Arístides Bastidas (1924–1992) journalist and scientist winner of the Kalinga Prize, was one of the pioneers of what is termed as "science journalism" in Venezuela.
- German Carnevali Fernandez-Concha (b. 1955) botanist.
- Luis Eduardo Chataing (1906–1971) (also alumnus) mathematician.
- Julian Chela-Flores (b.1942) astrobiologist and physicist.
- Paul Dedecker (1927–2007) Belgian mathematician.
- Jacinto Convit (1913–2014) (also alumnus) nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1988 for his research on the cure of Leprosy.
- Francisco José Duarte (1883–1972) mathematician.
- Humberto Fernández Morán (1924–1999) contributed to the development of the electron microscope and was the first researcher to introduce the concept of cryoultramicrotomy.
- Celso Fortoul Padrón (also alumnus) civil engineer and calculist of pre-tensate infraestructures.
- Arnoldo Gabaldon (1909–1990) physician, started the fight over tropical diseases as Malaria.
- Luis Alfredo Herrera Cometta, relativistic physicist. Professor Emeritus.
- Andras Kalnay, physicist.
- Werner Jaffé (1914–2009) founder of the National Institute of Nutrition. Studied under Nobel prize winner Paul Karrer.
- Tobías Lasser (1911–2006) (also alumnus) botanist, founder of the Botanical Garden of Caracas, the modern School of Sciences and the Department of Biology.
- Fuad Lechín (b. 1928) physician, nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2001 for the development of new treatments of bronchial asthma and myasthenia.
- Antonio Machado-Allison (b. 1945) ichthyologist.
- Francisco Mago Leccia (1931–2004) ichthyologist.
- Rafael Martínez Escarbassiere (b. 1929) biologist
- Ettore Mazzarri (1919–2009) chemist specialist of Maracay Agronomy faculty
- Angel Palacio Gros (1903–1965) Spanish mathematician.
- August Pi i Sunyer (1879–1961) Physiologist Spanish born. Winner of the Kalinga Prize 1956.
- Carles Pi i Sunyer (1888–1971) Spanish born industrial engineer and literate
- Janis Rácenis (1915–1980) Latvia born entomologist.
- Ivón Mercedes Ramírez Morillo (b. 1965) botanist.
- Gustavo Adolfo Romero-Gonzales (b. 1955) botanist.
- Eckbert Schulz-Schomburgk (b. 1921) chemist.
- Gustavo Rivas Mijares, sanitarist engineer.
- Marcel Roche (1920–2003) physician, winner of the Kalinga Prize, governor of the International Atomic Energy Agency (1958–1960) and founding member Third World Academy of Sciences.
- José Royo Gómez (1895–1961) Spanish geologist.
- Carlos Toro Manrique (1868–1937) (also alumnus) engineer, mathematician.
- Elías Toro (1871–1918) physician, anthropologist.
- Andre Zavrosky (1904–1995) Russian mathematician.
- Konstantin Zagustin Civil engineer Founder of the Institute of Fluid Mechanics Professor Emeritus
- Education in Venezuela
- List of universities in Venezuela
- List of colonial universities in Latin America
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