Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos
Latin: The Academy of St. Marcos in the City of Kings in Peru
|Latin: Academia S. Marci Vrbis Regvm in Perv|
|Motto||Universidad del Perú,|
Decana de América
Motto in English
|University of Peru,|
Dean of the Americas
|Established||May 12, 1551|
|Endowment||PEN S/. 400,732,439 (FY 2013)|
|Rector||Dr. Orestes Cachay Boza|
70 hectares (170 acres) (main campus)
The National University of San Marcos (Spanish: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, UNMSM) is a public research university in Lima, the capital of Peru. Also known as the University of Peru and the "Dean University of the Americas", it is the first officially established (privilege by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor) and the oldest continuously operating university in the Americas. Since its foundation, it was commonly referred as the "Royal and Pontifical University of the City of the Kings of Lima" until the Viceroyalty period and as of now, it is referred to as Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos or La Decana de América.
It is one of a few Peruvian universities which has managed to rank 1st nationally in several editions of different international university rankings. Its main campus, the University City, is located in Lima. It was chartered on May 12, 1551, by a royal decree signed by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, which makes it the oldest officially established university in the Americas. San Marcos has 66 academic-professional schools, organized into 20 faculties, and 6 academic areas. All of the faculties offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. The student body consists of over 30,000 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate students from all the country, as well as some international students. The university has a number of public institutions under its government such as the San Marcos Cultural Center and the Museum of Natural History of Lima.
Notable alumni include the only Peruvian Nobel laureate so far, Mario Vargas Llosa, and twenty-one Peruvian presidents. San Marcos is also recognized for the quality of its curricular contents, a competitive admissions process, as well as for being a center of scientific research. Several Peruvian and Latin American influential thinkers, researchers, scientists, politicians and writers have studied there, which underscores San Marcos' leading role as an educational institution in the history of Peru and the world.
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Oldest university in the Americas
San Marcos is considered the oldest university in the Americas. It was officially established by a royal decree (signed by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor) on May 12, 1551, and since then it has operated without interruption. Hence, it is locally known as the Dean of the Americas ("dean" in the sense of "oldest member"). San Marcos also claims that according to the Archivo General de Indias, a Spanish repository of documents on the former colonies in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, there were no official Spanish records of any other university or higher-education institution before 1551.
Although the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo was founded in 1538, it was not officially recognized by Royal Decree until 1558, and, as many other universities in the Americas closed during independence wars and other political conflicts, it was closed due to the occupations of the Dominican Republic by Haiti and then the United States. The National University of Santo Domingo's founding Papal bull In Apostolatus culmine, was not officially recognized by the King of Spain at the time; hence making into an apocryphal document. The Peruvian institution also states that the document in question was discredited by Pope Paul III.
- The University Council
- The University Assembly (composed of professors and students, with the latter holding a third of the seats)
- The Rector (president)
- Two Vice-Rectors:
- Academic Vice-Rector
- Vice-Rector of investigation
The original faculties at San Marcos were Theology, Arts (the old Scholastic term for what is now known as academic Philosophy) and Law; Jurisprudence, and Medicine were added later in the colonial period. The Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Economics and Commerce were created in the mid-19th century. The Faculty of Science was subdivided by specialities in the 20th century. The Faculty of Theology was closed in 1935.
In the mid-1990s San Marcos' departments were grouped into four academic blocks. Nowadays, San Marcos' faculties are grouped into 6 academic areas.
Throughout its history, the National University of San Marcos has significantly contributed to the scientific development of Peru. Currently, the National University of San Marcos is one of the few Peruvian universities that conducts research – only 10 out of over 80 universities. This is mostly due to the fact the national government has not properly financed research development in the last decades.
Regarding development of research activities of San Marcos, halfway through the 20th century, the Peruvian government issued provisions to place emphasis and create areas of scientific and student-led research. As a result, throughout these years many museums and institutes have been created within San Marcos to promote research in different areas of human knowledge. During the last years of the decade of 1990 and the beginning of 2000, the university renewed its research system through the assignation of specific projects to diverse academic departments.
Research centers and institutes
There are currently over 30 centers, units and institutes of research in San Marcos. Each one of these centers or institutes are grouped according to the academic area where they develop their research, therefore they are categorized in the following general areas: health sciences, basic sciences, engineering, economy-business, and humanities.
According to their area of study, the research centers have specialized museums and laboratories where they develop and display their work. Each institute also has their own publications where they present reports and results of the work of their researchers.
Together with the Cayetano Heredia University and the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, the National University of San Marcos is one of the only three Peruvian universities, and so far the only public one, which has managed to rank first nationally in several editions of different international university rankings. In 2021, the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) ranked the National University of San Marcos as the best university in the country, in its first ranking of the year.
Notable alumni and academics
- Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo, engineer and scientist
- José María Arguedas, novelist and anthropologist
- Alberto Barton, physician and microbiologist
- Jorge Basadre, historian
- Luis Bedoya Reyes, attorney, congressman, Mayor of Lima and founder of the Christian People's Party
- G. E. Berrios, professor of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge
- Bertha Bouroncle, physician
- Alfredo Bryce Echenique, novelist
- Carlos Bustamante, biophysicist
- Daniel Alcides Carrión, medical student and pioneer in medical research
- Ramiro Castro de la Mata Caamaño, scientist
- Carlos Manuel Chavez, heart surgeon
- José Santos Chocano, poet
- Antonio Cornejo-Polar, literary critic
- Luis A. Eguiguren, educator, magistrate, historian and Peruvian politician
- Godofredo García, mathematician and engineer
- Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, revolutionary thinker, founder of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA)
- Cayetano Heredia, physician
- Elmer Huerta, physician and health communicator
- Mariano Iberico Rodríguez, philosopher
- Andy Martínez, athlete and national record
- Francisco Miró Quesada Cantuarias, philosopher and logician
- Carlos Monge Medrano, physician
- Bernardo O'Higgins, military officer and first President of Chile
- Valentín Paniagua Corazao, former President of Peru
- Hugo Pesce, physician and leprosy specialist
- Laura Esther Rodriguez Dulanto, first female physician in Peru
- Luis Alberto Sánchez, writer and statesman
- Manuel Scorza, novelist
- Ruth Shady, archaeologist and anthropologist
- Julio C. Tello, physician, archaeologist, and anthropologist
- Hipólito Unanue, physician
- Abraham Valdelomar, poet and short-story writer
- Mario Vargas Llosa, novelist, Nobel Prize in Literature (2010)
- Federico Villarreal, scientist and mathematician
- Augusto Weberbauer, German naturalist
- Pedro Zulen, philosopher and librarian
- María Luisa Aguilar, Peruvian astronomer
The historic chapter house at the Basilica and Convent of Santo Domingo, where the University of San Marcos began its operations
La Casona de San Marcos, used as the cultural center
- List of universities in Peru
- Casona de la Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos
- University City of the National University of San Marcos
- List of colonial universities in Latin America
- History of the National University of San Marcos seal
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