On 19 November 1816, Emperor of Russia and King of Poland Alexander I signed the Royal University of Warsaw Foundation Act, with the University officially launched one and a half years later, on 14 May 1818. At the beginning the University consisted of five faculties. A few years later there were approximately 800 students and 40-50 professors. Today, the University of Warsaw has 21 faculties, over 44 500 students, 3 200 doctoral students, 3 300 academic teachers including 820 professors.
In November 2016 the UW celebrated the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the University of Warsaw.
How did the University celebrate its birthday?
In order to mark the 200th anniversary of the UW foundation, a special UW committee has planned various scientific lectures, exhibitions, concerts and other meetings. Among the most important events were:
UW Alumni World Reunion
13-14. May – the event was dedicated to UW graduates, not only from Poland but also from abroad. It was a time full of meetings, interesting lectures and a concert “Alumni for Alumni”.
Warsaw Boat Race
4. June – 35 rowing boats from all around the world took part in 4 km long race, along the banks of the Vistula. At the end of the race the University of Warsaw competed against the Warsaw University of Technology.
University Time Machine – the University 200 years ago
11. June – at the UW Main Campus participants of the event could find out about the 19th century fashion, taste special dishes or play historical games.
4-5 and 18-19. June – more than 100 open lectures, meetings and experiments were held both on the Main Campus (at the beginning of June) and Ochota Campus (two weeks later). Scientists from UW were speaking about, among others, genetic engineering, brain-computer interface, secrets of the White House or wolves in Poland.
Chopin was from UW
Five outstanding pianists: Eugen Indjic, Markus Groh, Ingolf Wunder, Dmitry Shishkin and Benjamin Grosvenor have played compositions, written by Frederic Chopin (the UW graduate) and others great composers, at the university.
Birthday cake and Gala Jubilee Concert
19. November– at 16.30 in front of the Old Library building the special ceremony began. The UW Main Campus was festive. Participants tried a piece of birthday cake, watched fireworks and university mapping.
In the evening, at the Warsaw Philharmonic, audience could listen to Paweł Szymański’s composition – created especially on the occasion of 200th anniversary of UW. Then a laureate of the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, Yulianna Avdeeva, performed Chopin’s masterpiece Piano Concerto No. 1in E minor, Op. 11.
A glance into the future
Anniversaries are usually there to celebrate past achievements. But my intent is for us to focus instead on present-day challenges, on developing and planning for the future. Clearly, we cannot base our position on a contemplation of the 200 years of UW glory.
Professor Marcin Pałys, Rector of the University of Warsaw.
“Two centuries. Good beginning” – it was the UW logo. As the University of Warsaw enters the third century of its existence, it has set for itself strategic goals. These include:
- to maintain a strong position among top universities in Central Europe,
- to join the group of the best universities in our continent,
- to strengthen the research recognition of the UW, which contributes to the development of world science,
- to develop interdisciplinary research initiatives, individualized education programmes and cooperation with businesses and social partners. It will be possible due to the realization of the multiannual development plan (2016-2020) funded by the Polish government. Financial support equals ca. 230 million euro.