The University of Guanajuato's academic tradition roots in the XVIII century. The beginnings of this educational project have its first background in the Holy Trinity School founded in 1732 By initiative of "Doña Josefa Teresa de Busto y Moya" who with the help of prominent members of Guanajuato's society. Among them "Don Pedro Lascuráin de Retana" stands out. Created the school in the Doña Josefa's house and otomies ancient chapel, where the actual Central Building's Study yard is.
In the year of 1744, a request from Guanajuato's city hall, King Philipe V issues the Royal Document in which the founders educational efforts are recognized. And writes down who will take care of the school, and they were the religious in company of Jesus.
The first classes in the school were in charge of the Jesuit priests who had the financial support from city miners. That way it was possible to continue with the construction of the Holy Trinity School. It's said that when Doña Josefa was thinking on founding the school, bees created a honeycomb in her room, from this legend emerges the symbol of the Legendary Honeycomb.
The territorial banishment of the Jesuit from the New Spain in 1767, was the cause for which the school remained closed for 18 years. It re-opened under the name "Royal School of Immaculate Conception", in charge of the Philippian priests.
The re-opened school received a great incentive from Guanajuato’s last quartermaster, Juan Antonio de Riaño y Bárcenas, An enlightened governor who provided classes and professors for the school besides adding mathematics, physics, chemistry and french. Nevertheless, the independence movement would give an end to the project as well to the life of the mayor who dies in the battle of September 28th, 1810 in “Alhondiga de Granaditas”.
During the independence, the Institution sustained thanks to the dedication of the priest don Marcelino Mangas, an emblematic figure in the school.He performed as rector, teacher, and basic functions coordinator, and together with a group of students, opposed to Agustín de Iturbide intentions to turn the school into a coin house.
Marcelino Mangas is one of the most representatives characters of constant labor made by the people of Guanajuato by maintaining an institution in the road of state’s youth progress. At death, his remains rest in the School’s Old Chapel, today the Unversity’s Honorable General Council Hall.
Carlo Montes de Oca, first constitutional state governor, nlightened, and faithful defender of the independence principles initiated an ambitious educational project for the school and the state. With the support of Don Marcelino Mangas, issued a decree in 1827 which establishes that the superior education should be paid by the state. Likewise, assigns a body to reform and extend the building, found a public library, an experimental physics cabinet, a chemistry lab and a mineralogy collection.
He had the support of the City’s Hall for these companies, which yielded its public library to then Immaculate Conception School books preserved today in Biblioteca Armando Olivares' library-Supported the initiative to ask Baron Alejandro Von Humboldt for a fossil collection for the mineralogy cabinet, as well as an important book collection that today are part of the University’s heritage.
The year of 1828 is very important. Study plans reformed; the third teaching or superior education is legislated for the first time; Mining, Career Forum (Law), ecclesiastic carrier classes are offered, and painting, sculpture & architecture academy.
The political sway in the first half of the XIX century affected the school, however, it maintains as a stable institution that complies the main mission to offer public education. During this epoque many important characters in the State & Country’s history studied such as Manuel Doblado, Joaquín González Obregón, Octavio Muñoz Ledo, Ponciano Burquiza, Juan y Ramón Valle, José Rosas Moreno, and Lucio Marmolejo among others.
With the Reform’s triumph, the school experienced important changes. In 1870 changes its name to State College by initiative of then governor Florencio Antillón.
During this period, the presence of the naturalist and medic french Alfredo Dugés, stands out. Founder of the Natural History Cabinet, Botanic Garden and author of a watercolor collection. Another important character is Vicente Fernández autodidact scientist and taxidermist who is remembered for discovering new minerals like the one called “Guanajuatita.” Likewise, for the first state’s weather observatory installation. They bequeathed an outstanding collection that the University’s Natural History “Alfredo Dugés” Museum houses today. The observatory tradition is preserved in the central building roof. It is worth remembering the scientist Severo Navia, who formed and classified an important mineral collection sheltered by the University’s Mineralogy Musem..
Such Museum houses a mineral collection managed by the engineer Ponciano Aguilar, illustrious graduate and professor in the school who discovered a mineral called “Aguilarita”. His work as a constructor is preserved in the “Presa de Esperanza” (Hope Dam) and “Coajín” tunnel. He was also named an extraordinary Physical-Chemistry professor at UNAM and obtained the Paris Universal Fair international prize in 1900 with a project of Rio Lerma’s water exploitation. Part of his legacy is in the University of Guanajuato’s Historic Archive..
The school’s history was thoroughly recorded by one of the dearest graduates and professors, Don Agustín Lanuza, renowned for his historical research, literary work and lawyer professionalism.
In 1945 the State College transformed in the University of Guanajuato, installing the first University Council on May 16th. This important evolution is due to the unquestionable leadership from Don Armando Olivares Carrillo, who supported the idea of having a University with greater social and human action. Project that consolidated in the University’s Social Service that distinguish the institution. Among its achievements, we highlight the origin of editorial work for which a university press (still running) was installed. The main character of a new cultural & artistic tradition that distinguishes the University and gives it a national place.
In this stage, the University of Guanajuato had and important growth in the opening of a new and diverse academic offering. It consolidates important research centers and institutions in all knowledge areas as well as establishing great cultural reach and dissemination. On the other hand, it widened its presence in more cities throughout the state. Today, there are academic units and university extension in more than ten towns.
As part of this new cultural tradition, rector Antonio Torres Gómez creó en 1950 la created the University’s Symphonic Orchestra & the school of Dramatic Art in 1950. The last one, although ephemeral, constituted an essential background for the artistic development that features the university in the national and international level. The play of the “Entremeses Cervantinos”(cervantine entries), was the seed that grew onto the International Cervantine Festival (FIC).
Among the personalities that stand out during the cultural life if the university in that time is Enrique Ruelas y Eugenio Trueba Olivares, who was rector. He founded two of the cultural institutions that continue being avant-garde in promotion:Movie Club & University Radio.Besides being the promoter of college theater, year after year, continues to place the cervantine entries in San Roque’s Plaza.
October 1991, rector Mtro. Juan Carlos Romero Hicks, summons the university community to take part in the regulatory reform & autonomous process. On May 11th, 1994 the LV State Congress Session approved the autonomy that granted the University the legal capacity and faculty and responsibility to govern itself.
Afterward in full exercise and responsibility of its autonomy, the university community began an institutional transformation process. It influenced in the conformation of the government’s structure and academic model, preserving the principles and purposes in their institutional mission and vision.
Such process began formally in February 2006 before the H University Council from rector Dr (Ph.D.) Arturo Lara López. They presented the basic proposal of academic and administrative reform. Its contents and approaches enriched the community’s, student’s and Guanajuato’s society opinion.
May 16th, 2006 the H University Council approved the Organic Law Draft, document that states the institutional will to adopt a new organic & academic model featuring a multicampus structure. The matrix & departmental function of its superior education subsystem and the integration of a high-school subsystem.
May 31st, 2007 the LX State Constitutional Session unanimously approved the new University of Guanajuato’s Organic Law currently in effect. This way, from 2009, the University began a new era in its institutional history.