With more than five hundred years of existence, the University of Santiago de Compostela is an institution with a vocation for the future and the capacity to project beyond the future. of its natural borders, always attentive to the needs of the society in which it constitutes an academic reference and in which it carries out its teaching and research work. Centuries of history that bring us the added value of experience to the path that USC is taking. marking in the achievement of its present and future challenges.
The first germ of the University of Santiago is linked to the personal action of a Compostela notary named Lope Gómez de Marzoa, who created in 1495, with the support of the abbot of San Martín Pinario, a school for the poor known as the Grammar Study, installed in some rooms of the monastery of San Paio de Antealtares. From that moment on, a period of uncertainty begins based on the scarcity of resources. In the year 1504, the Diego de Muros family entered this educational institution. This religious gets Pope Julius II to grant a bull that allows the completion of higher studies in the Old Study or Grammar Study.
The period in which the University achieved its definitive development is defined by the figure of Alonso III de Fonseca, who was appointed archbishop of Santiago in 1507, inheriting the title from his father Fonseca II. Alonso de Fonseca is He was considered an extremely cultured person, a Renaissance man, a patron of numerous artists and scholars of the time, who had frequently maintained contact with thinkers such as Erasmus of Rotterdam.
The purchase of the old Pilgrims Hospital for the University dates back to this time with the aim of transforming it into the university college. The Santiago Alfeo College is built, today called Colegio de Fonseca, the epicenter of university life until the second half of the 18th century. At the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century, the school of San Patricio or de los Irlandeses and that of San Clemente were created, and in the middle of the century the school of San Xerome was moved to its current location.
These schools, unlike what happens today, brought together all the studies in the same building, where they also lived as a boarding school. At that time the training offer was configured by theology, grammar and the arts, disciplines that would later be completed with the study of Law and Medicine, with almost exclusive attention , in the case of Laws, to ecclesiastical law, and concerned with the health of the soul more than the care of the body, in the case of Medicine.
The 18th century brought with it a profound transformation at the University of Santiago de Compostela, thus completing the the process of secularization of the institution by moving away from ecclesiastical control. The centralizing dynamics to which the institutions were subjected at this time contributes to the University losing a certain autonomy. It was at that moment when Charles III granted royal status to the USC, adding to its insignia the royal crown which, on the arms of Castile, León and Galicia, and together with the heraldic emblems of its most prominent founders, is integrated into the shield.
After the expulsion of the Jesuits, ordered by Charles III, he granted the University the land and buildings that this religious order owned in Santiago, becoming the center of the new enlightened university. A new curriculum is immediately created that recovers disciplines assigned to certain religious congregations, creates academic degrees and introduces new practical and scientific teachings, such as Experimental Physics or Chemistry.
The arrival of the 20th century brings to the University of Santiago a new generation of intellectuals, future protagonists of much of the cultural resurgence of Galicia at that time. At the same time, the different currents of thought in the different scientific fields find reception and encouragement at the USC, which encourages key figures in the different fields of science to approach the USC. In this period, USC experienced a significant increase in its number of students as well as a significant increase in the number of students. as well as the careers offered, with the consequent provision of infrastructure. In this way, the expansion of the University building, the current Faculty of Geography and History, is completed, also constructing the College of Veterinary Medicine (current Parliament of Galicia), the College of the Deaf and Mute (headquarters of the Xunta de Galicia) and the Faculty of Medicine. Another great project was the University Residence, carried out in the 1930s. In short, it is a period of expansion in which the equipment improves and the studies are regionalized, seeking a better adaptation to the Galician reality.
Another characteristic that the 20th century brought with it was the beginning of relations with foreign university teaching institutions, at first fundamentally Portuguese, as well as with foreign universities. such as women's access to classrooms (1913-1914 academic year). In addition, the volume of the institution's books has increased significantly, with new and notable donations, such as that of the Biblioteca América.
In this progression, the military uprising against the government of the republic and the outbreak of the civil war gave a new meaning to the path that the Compostela university was charting. The coup plotters dominated the city, purged the university, imposing a new rector and rules such as praying before and after each class. But the anti-Franco opposition in Santiago came precisely from intellectuals and students and not from labor movements, as had happened in A Coruña, Vigo or Ferrol, to name a few examples.
In recent decades, with the universities of A Coruña and Vigo already segregated, USC continued to It continued its growth until it had more than 45,000 students at the end of the 90s. Currently, between its two campuses in Santiago and Lugo, university students have nearly thirty centers, nearly eighty departments and more than sixty degrees, in addition to numerous facilities such as research institutes, university residences. , sports or cultural facilities, libraries, etc. In short, after more than five centuries, the University of Santiago de Compostela continues to look decisively to the future, respecting its past, but promoting new initiatives every day, putting knowledge and its leadership at the service of the society to which it is due.