History of University of Szczecin

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History of University of Szczecin

On May 4th, 1945, when Western Pomerania was the scene of last battles and fights of World War II, a group of Poznań University representatives arrived in Szczecin in order to secure property for the future University of Szczecin. Their task was to create administrative structures and secure library collections, university buildings and accommodation for academic teachers and other employees.

However, the creation of the University was prevented due to prolonged negotiations between the winning powers concerning Szczecin's national status as well as a repeated evacuation of Polish settlers and newly established municipal and provincial authorities. The question remained open, yet frantically discussed for the forthcoming years. Authors of numerous publications and speeches given at conferences devoted to West Pomeranian issues pointed out that the establishment of a University in Szczecin was regarded as a necessary condition of Polish scientific and cultural development in the north-west regions.

Unfortunately, the important national argument for the creation of the University was pushed aside as the West Pomeranian economy was badly in need of qualified experts. Consequently, a number of higher education institutions training economists, engineers and medicine doctors sprang up. The Academy of Commerce, established in October 1946 as the first one, followed a study programme encompassing not only professional but also humanistic and foreign language courses, which provided the graduates with extensive, high-quality education and therefore made it the centre of Szczecin's humanistic activity in post-war years.

The future of University of Szczecin was again in debate in the late 1950s and early 1960s when members of Szczecin Scientific Society appointed the Commission for the University Affairs. It developed a conception and strategy and conducted preparatory work continued over the next decades. The circumstances proved favourable: a growing deficit of highly qualified staff in educational, cultural, administrative and legal sectors as well as a serious threat of a students` flow to other main academic centres, which would have meant that they broke up their relations with the region altogether.

A branch office of Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznań opened in Szczecin in 1955. Yet it could not satisfy the growing demand for experts with academic background as well as the ambitions of the local youth who wished to attend full-time studies that offered the best possible education.

The Pedagogic University, established in 1973 on the basis of the former Higher Teacher Education School, proved an important step. The institution educated academic staff of the future University. In the early eighties it employed over 200 academic teachers, including over 30 professors and senior lecturers. The Faculty of Engineering and Economics functioning within Szczecin Technical University was also considered the trump card of West Pomeranian community. It replaced the Academy of Commerce that had been transformed into the Higher School of Economics in 1950. The Faculty, to which full academic rights had been granted in 1965, was informally regarded as an independent, well-equipped middle-sized higher education institution employing 30 professors and senior lecturers and educating a great number of students. The idea of creating a university through a fusion between the two higher schools arose naturally: the academic staff ensured the quality of University education and research so there was no need to attract support from other academic centres. This proved an irrefutable argument: on July 22nd, 1984 a bill establishing University of Szczecin was passed, which constituted the crowning achievement of the nearly 40-year struggle.

The celebration inaugurating the beginning of the first academic year in the history of University of Szczecin took place on October 1st, 1985. The institution offered courses to 5,433 students, 3,504 of whom undertook full-time study. Since then the number of applicants has been growing steadily, often surpassing the admission limits of the seven Faculties.

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