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Ghent University

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Ghent University
Universiteit Gent (Dutch)
LatinAcademia Gandavensis
MottoAudere Sapiens
Motto in EnglishDare to Think
Religious affiliationPluralistic
Endowment€ 410 million [1]
RectorPaul Van Cauwenberge [2]
Staff7,100 [1]
Students32,000 [1]
51°2′46″N 3°43′39″ECoordinates51°2′46″N 3°43′39″E
Former namesState University of Ghent (RUG)
ColoursBlue and Yellow         
AffiliationsGhent University Association
Santander Network
Erasmus Student Network
European University Association

Ghent University (DutchUniversiteit Gent, abbreviated as UGent) is a Dutch-speaking public university located in GhentBelgium. It is one of the larger Flemish universities, consisting of 32,000 students and 7,100 staff members. The current rector is Paul Van Cauwenberge.

It was established in 1817 by King William I of the Netherlands. After the Belgian revolution of 1830, it was administered by the newly-formed Belgian state. French became the acadamic language until 1930, when Ghent University became the first Dutch-speaking university in Belgium. In 1991, the university was granted major autonomy and changed its name from State University of Ghent (DutchRijksuniversiteit Gent , abbreviated as RUG) to its current name.




The university in Ghent was opened on 9 October 1817, with JC van Rotterdam serving as the first rector. In the first year, it had 190 students and 16 professors. The original four faculties consisted of Humanities (Letters), Law, Medicine and Science, and the language of instruction was Latin. The university was founded by King William I as part of a policy to stem the intellectual and academic lag in the southern part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, later to become Belgium. The universities in Leuven and Liège were founded as part of the same movement.

After peaking at a student population of 414, the number of students declined quickly following the Belgian Revolution. At this time, the faculties of Humanities and Science were broken off of the university, but they were restored five years later, in 1835.

In 1882, Sidonie Verhelst became the first female student at the university.

French became the language of instruction, taking the place of Latin, after the 1830 Revolution. In 1903, the Flemish politician Lodewijk De Raet led a successful campaign to begin instruction in Dutch, and the first courses were begun in 1906. A Flemish Institute (Vlaemsche Hoogeschool) was founded in 1916 but was disestablished due to the ongoing First World War. Cabinet Minister Pierre Nolf put forward a motion in 1923 to fully establish the university as a Dutch-speaking university, and this was realized in 1930. August Vermeylen served as the first rector of the first exclusively Dutch-language university in Belgium.[3]

In the Second World War, the German administration of the university attempted to create a German orientation, removing faculty members and installing loyal activists. However, the university became the focal point for many resistance members as the war progressed.

After the war, the university became a much larger institution, following government policy of democratizing higher education in Flanders during the 1950s and 1960s. By 1953, there were more than 3000 students, and by 1969 more than 11,500. The number of faculties increased to eleven, starting with Applied Sciences in 1957. It was followed by Economics and Veterinary Medicine in 1968, Psychology and Pedagogy, as well as Bioengineering, in 1969, and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The faculty of Politics and Social Sciences is the most recent addition, in 1992.

The university officially changed its name from Rijksuniversiteit Gent (RUG) to Universiteit Gent (UGent) in 1991 following an increased grant of autonomy by the government of the Flemish Community.

On 22 March 2005Paul Van Cauwenberge succeeded Andreas De Leenheer as rector.


Ghent University consists of eleven faculties, composed of more than 130 departments:

  • Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Sciences
  • Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Faculty of Engineering
  • Faculty of Economics and Business Administration
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
  • Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
  • Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Faculty of Political and Social Sciences


In contrast to the Catholic University of Leuven, or the Freethinking Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Ghent University considers itself a pluralist university in a special sense (i.e. not connected to any particular religion or ideology, hence its motto Inter Utrumque or 'In Between Both Extremes').[citation needed]

[edit]International acclaim

In the 2009 THE–QS World University Rankings (From 2010 two separate rankings will be produced by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the QS World University Rankings)list of the top 200 universities in the world, Ghent University was ranked in 136th place. In the 2010 QS World University Rankings[4] it was ranked 192nd. An overview of the last years:

YearRank (Change)
2006141 ( 77)
2007124 ( 20)
2008136 ( 12)
2009136 ()
2010192 ()

Ghent was also placed among top 95 universities in the world according to the Russian based Global University Ranking.[5]. Ghent University was placed in the top 90 world universities by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.[6] An overview of the last years:

YearRank (Change)
2004101-152 ()
2005101-152 ()
2006102-150 ()
2007102-150 ()
2008101-152 ()
2009101-152 ()
201090 ()

[edit]Notable alumni

The Boekentoren, designed by Henry van de Velde, is one of the most famous university buildings
Faculty of Science

[edit]Notable faculty

Johan Rudolf Thorbecke

[edit]See also


[edit]External links

v  d  e
Universities in Belgium
v  d  e
Santander Network
v  d  e
CESAER Association