National University of San Marcos
|Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos|
|National University of San Marcos seal|
Latin: Academia S. Marci Urbis Regum in Peru
|Motto:||Universidad del Perú, Decana de América|
|Motto in English:||University of Peru, Dean of the Americas|
|Established:||May 12, 1551|
|Rector:||Luis Izquierdo Vásquez|
|Faculty:||2559 (full time) |
674 (part time)
|Location:||Lima City, Peru.|
|Campus:||Urban, 0.69 km² (main campus) also called University City.|
|Colors:||Magenta, White, Steel blue|
The National University of San Marcos (Spanish: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, UNMSM) is a public university in Lima, Peru. It was chartered on May 12, 1551 by a Royal Decree signed by Charles I of Spain as the Royal and Pontifical University of the City of the Kings of Lima (Spanish: Real y Pontificia Universidad de la Ciudad de los Reyes de Lima), which makes it the oldest officially established university in the Americas, and as such, one of the oldest universities in the world. Between 1551 and 1574, during the Viceroyalty, it was known as the University of Lima, and such a denomination continued unofficialy until 1946.
The university has 56 academic-professional schools, organized into 20 faculties, and these, in turn, into 6 academic areas. All the faculties offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. The student body consists of over 30,000 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate students from all the country as well as some international students. The university has also a number of institutions under its government such as San Marcos Cultural Center and the Museum of Natural History.
Due to its prestigious faculty and renowned alumni, the quality of its curricular contents, and its very competitive admission process, San Marcos is considered by many as the most important and respected institution of higher education in the country, as well as a leading center of scientific research. The university is also recognized for its history of student activism in the country and its athletic teams.
San Marcos was founded in 1551 by an order of Dominican friars headed by fr. Tomas de San Martin. It was officially recognized by a Royal Decree of Charles I of Spain and a papal bull of Pius V in 1571. Classes commenced on January 2, 1553, in the Dominican Convent of Our Lady of the Rosary. The opening lectures were given by Andres Cianca and Cosme Carrillo, under the supervision of Fr. Juan Bautista de La Roca. Later, the university was moved to a location adjacent to the Augustinian Convent of St. Marcellus. In 1575, it was moved again to the Plaza del Estanque, later called Plaza de la Inquisición, where the Congress of Peru is currently located. The city's rapid growth as consequence of the 19th century industrial revolution and of president Manuel Pardo's efforts to develop and improve Lima's urban planning during the 1870s moved San Marcos' campus to a new location contiguous to an old Jesuit monastery called Convictorio de San Carlos; this campus is now referred to as La Casona -- it is still part of the University, and it is now the location of its Cultural Center. Finally, in the 1960s, most of San Marcos was moved to its present location, the modern University City campus in the Industrial Area near the border with Callao region.
The Faculty of Medicine, also known as Faculty of San Fernando (named after Ferdinand VII of Spain), was established during the Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, Count of Oropesa's administration in 1573; and is the second largest campus of San Marcos. Originally it was located in the Plaza del Estanque until the 1860s when it moved to Grau Avenue, still in downtown Lima.
Oldest university in the Americas
There is some controversy regarding the claim that San Marcos is the oldest university in the Americas, although it is certainly the oldest on the continental mainland.
San Marcos is known as the Dean of America ("dean" in the sense of "oldest member"). There are other universities that claim similar titles. The Autonomous University of Santo Domingo was founded in 1538 (thus predating UNMSM by 14 years) but was not officially recognized by Royal Decree until 1558. It considers itself as Primada de América. It is, however, the oldest institution of higher education in America.
UNMSM's claims are based on the fact that it was the first institution in the Americas established by a royal decree (signed by Charles I of Spain), and also on the fact that it is the only American institution of higher education from the sixteenth century to operate without interruption from the time of its founding. This last claim has been accepted by many historians, since many universities in the Americas were closed during the wars of independence or other conflicts or political turmoil.
San Marcos also says that according to the Archivo General de Indias, a famous Spanish repository of documents on the former colonies in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, there were no official records authorizing any university or higher educational institution before UNMSM in 1551. 
The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) was chartered the same year as UNMSM (by a royal decree of September 21, 1551), as the Royal University of the New Spain, which makes it the second oldest in the Americas.
- A Rector (President)
- Two Vice-Rectors
- The University Assembly (composed of professors and students, with the latter holding a third of the seats).
The original faculties at San Marcos were Theology, Arts and Law; Jurisprudence, and Medicine were added later in the colonial period. The Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Economics and Commerce were created in the mid-19th century. The Faculty of Science was subdivided by specialities in the 20th century. The Faculty of Theology was closed in 1935. In the mid-1990s San Marcos' departments were grouped into four academic blocks, as shown below.
- Academic Block I: Science and Engineering
- Genetics and Biotechnology (merged)
- Microbiology and Parasitology
- Scientific Computing
- Operations Research
- Chemical Engineering
- Fluid Mechanics Engineering
- Geotechnical Engineering
- Geography Engineering
- Mining Engineering
- Metallurgy Engineering
- Industrial Engineering
- Electronics Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Systems Engineering
- Academic Block II: Health Sciences
- Academic Block III: Economics and Entrepreneuring Fields
- Academic Block IV: Humanities and Social Sciences
- Academic Block I: Science and Engineering
- Jorge Basadre, historian.
- Luis Bedoya Reyes, attorney, congressman, Mayor of Lima and founder of the Christian People's Party
- Alfredo Bryce Echenique, novelist.
- Daniel Alcides Carrión, medical student and pioneer in medical research.
- José Santos Chocano, poet.
- Antonio Cornejo-Polar, literary critic.
- Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, revolutionary thinker, founder of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA)
- Cayetano Heredia, physician.
- Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo, engineer and scientist.
- Pablo Macera, historian.
- Francisco Miro Quesada Cantuarias, philosopher and logician.
- Bernardo O'Higgins, military officer and first President of Chile.
- Valentín Paniagua Corazao, former President of Peru
- Javier Pulgar Vidal, geographer.
- Augusto Salazar Bondy, philosopher.
- Luis Alberto Sánchez, writer and statesman.
- Manuel Scorza, novelist.
- Julio C. Tello, archaeologist.
- Abraham Valdelomar, poet and short-story writer.
- Mario Vargas Llosa, novelist.
- Federico Villarreal, scientist and mathematician.
- "Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos -History and general reference". Official university site. http://www.unmsm.edu.pe/sanmarcos/index.htm. Retrieved 2005. (Spanish)
- UNMSM-Admission Entrance Test commission (January 2004). "Admission Publication". Admission 45: 66–67. (Spanish)
- ↑ Ranking and research supported by: UNESCO and Asamblea Nacional de Rectores, 2007
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