University of ghent

Ghent University
Universiteit Gent
File:Ghent University logo.svg
Latin: Academia Gandavensis
Motto Audere Sapiens
Motto in English Dare to Think
Established 1817
Type Public
Rector Anne De Paepe (nl) [1]
Admin. staff 7,900 [2]
Students 38,000 [2]

Ghent, Belgium
51°2′46″N 3°43′39″E / 51.04611°N 3.72750°E / 51.04611; 3.72750Coordinates: 51°2′46″N 3°43′39″E / 51.04611°N 3.72750°E / 51.04611; 3.72750

Former names State University of Ghent
Affiliations Santander Network
Erasmus Student Network
European University Association

Ghent University (Dutch: Universiteit Gent, abbreviated as UGent) is a Dutch-speaking public university located in Ghent, Belgium. It is one of the larger Flemish universities, consisting of 38,000 students and 7,900 staff members. The current rector is Anne De Paepe (nl).

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 academic 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 (Dutch: Rijksuniversiteit 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 university in Liège was 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. Ghent University played a big role in the foundation of modern organic chemistry. Friedrich August Kekulé (7 September 1829 – 13 July 1896) unraveled the structure of benzene at Ghent and Adolf von Baeyer (Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer), a student of August Kekulé, made seminal contributions to organic chemistry.

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.[4]

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 3,000 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.

In the 1960s to 1980s, there were several student demonstrations at Ghent University, notably around the Blandijn site, which houses the Faculty of Arts & Philosophy.[5] The severest demonstrations took place in 1969 in the wake of May 1968.

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 2005, Paul Van Cauwenberge succeeded Andreas De Leenheer as rector.

List of rectors

# Name Birth and death Office started Office ended Vice rector
André Devreker 8 November 1922
Leisele (West Flanders)

15 April 2012
Sint-Martens-Leerne (East Flanders)
1973 1977
Julien Hoste 30 May 1921
Ghent (East Flanders)

1 December 2011
1977 1981
André Cottenie 15 September 1919
Evergem (East Flanders)

op 21 February 1997
Mariakerke (East Flanders)
1981 1985 Julien Hoste
Leon De Meyer 1985 1993
Jacques Willems Bruges (West Flanders) 1993 2001 Etienne Vermeersch (1993–'97)
Andreas De Leenheer (1997–'01)
Andreas De Leenheer 16 May 1941
Zele (East Flanders)
2001 2005 Marc De Clercq
Paul Van Cauwenberge 2 April 1949
Zottegem (East Flanders)
1 October 2005 30 September 2013 Luc Moens
Anne De Paepe
(first female rector)
4 October 1955
Ghent (East Flanders)
1 October 2013 Freddy Mortier


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 and Architecture
  • Faculty of Economics and Business Administration
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
  • Faculty of Bio-science Engineering
  • Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Faculty of Political and Social Sciences


In contrast to the Catholic University of Leuven, or the Free University of Brussels, 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').


Template:Infobox European university ranking Ghent University is consistently ranked among the best universities in Belgium (top 3) and worldwide (top 200). 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 Times Top 50 Life Sciences Universities 2011-2012, Ghent ranked 36th. In the 2010 QS World University Rankings[6] it was ranked 192nd, whereas the 2011 rankings placed it at 165th.[7] In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings of 2010, it was ranked 124nd. An overview of the last years:

Year Rank (change)
2005 218
2006 141 (Increase 77)
2007 124 (Increase 20)
2008 136 (Decrease 12)
2009 136 (Steady)
2010 192 (Decrease 56)
2011 165 (Increase 27)
2012 106 (Increase 59)
2013 90 (Increase 16)

Ghent University was ranked 89th among world universities by the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2012.[8] The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), commonly known as the Shanghai ranking, is a publication that was founded and compiled by the Shanghai Jiaotong University.The rankings have been conducted since 2003 and then updated annually. An overview of the last years:

Year Rank (change)
2003 99
2004 101–152 (Decrease)
2005 101–152 (Steady)
2006 102–150 (Steady)
2007 102–150 (Steady)
2008 101–152 (Steady)
2009 101–152 (Steady)
2010 90 (Increase)
2011 89 (Increase)
2012 89 (Steady)
2013 85 (Increase)

Ghent was also placed among top 95 universities in the world according to the Russian based Global University Ranking.[9]

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

See also

Notes and references

External links

  • More information about higher education in Flanders/Belgium (in English)
  • Find an officially recognised programme of this institution in the Higher Education Register
  • THE Rankings – Ghent University(2008)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.