University of Parma

The University of Parma (Italian: Universita degli Studi di Parma, UNIPR) is one of the oldest universities in the world, founded in the 10th century. It is organised in nine departments. As of 2016 the University of Parma has about 26,000 students.

The earliest educational institution was founded in AD 962 by imperial decree of Otto I as school for notaries ("potestatem elegendi sive ordinandi sibi notaris"). The faculties of law and medicine were added in the 13th century. Gian Galeazzo Visconti closed the school in 1322. Opened as university in 1412 by Niccolo III d'Este, during the next hundred years it was often reopened and closed. Expanded after 1545 under the patronage of the ducal House of Farnese, the Farnese Duke Ranuccio I founded and endowed the university College of Nobles with a distinguished faculty, but between 1731 and 1748 the university was again neglected. Things improved in 1762 under Duke Ferdinand I de Bourbon, when he founded a great state university at Parma and endowed it with possessions confiscated from the Jesuits. Future Jesuit Father General Luigi Fortis was invited to head the College of Nobles. New studies were added. The university experienced a rapid growth phase and established an astronomical observatory, a botanical garden and laboratories of anatomy, chemistry and experimental physics. In 1811 the French government deemed the university an Academy of the Empire, but it lost this status a mere three years later with the fall of Bonaparte and the expulsion of the French. The university was closed to foreign students in 1831 and fell into decay. It was revived in 1854 by the duchess regent and is now a state administration with administrative autonomy.