The University of Ioannina - Past and Present
Epirus was full of historical memories, since the intellectual traditions of the nation had been preserved and contributed to the crystallisation of a national conscience. Throughout the Turkish occupation the city had managed to maintain its cultural independence and pave the way for national uplift. However, Ioannina, and the region of Epirus as a whole, was not able to become part of the Greek state. Its incorporation took place in 1912-13. Epirus also suffered many hardships during the Second World War and in the civil war. Nevertheless, it found the strength to endure and claim its rightful position in Greek society.
The efforts to establish a University in Ioannina and in the wider region can be traced back to the last pre-revolutionary years. During that period, leading Epirot intellectuals had attempted to found higher Education Institutions in Epirus.
From the early fifties and directly after the founding of the Society for Epirot Studies (1954) a strong demand was voiced for the founding of a Higher Education Institution that would reflect the cultural background of Epirus and promote Ioannina and the wider region from every aspect.
In 1962 a delegation of visionary intellectuals was set up in Athens with a single aim: "the most effective assertion and widest possible promotion of the fair Epirot request to establish a third university or an independent theoretical or technical training school in Ioannina". In an announcement in July 1962 the Committee called on every official and unofficial body, as well as on every Epirot citizen, to take action so that the above request would be realised.
On 8 May 1964 the founding of a School of Philosophy in Ioannina was announced in the daily press, as a branch of the same School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Initially the Department was housed in the old building of the Zosimaia Academy. In 1966 Georgios Mylonas, undersecretary to the premier's office at the time as well as education undersecretary, not only favoured the relocation of the School, but also commissioned the drawing up of plans for a custom built campus in the area near to Dourouti Monastery.
In 1966 the Department of Mathematics, which fell under the School of Mathematics and Physics of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, came into being.
In 1970 the University of Ioannina, an independent Higher Education Institution was founded in Ioannina, which grew rapidly in the coming years to encompass today the following academic Departments:
- The Department of Physics was founded in 1970 and together with the Department of Mathematics constituted the School of Mathematics and Physics.
- The Department of Chemistry was founded in 1976, the School of Medicine in 1977 and the Departments of Primary and Pre-School Education in 1982. The last two Departments comprised the School of Education in 1996.
- In 1983 the Department of Mathematics, the Department of Physics and the Department of Chemistry comprised the School of Sciences.
- In 1984 the School of Philosophy was split into three Departments, which are the Department of Philology, the Department of History and Archaeology and the Department of Philosophy, Education and Psychology.
- In 1990 the Department of Computer Science was founded as the fourth academic unit of the School of Sciences.
- In 1998 the Department of Economics was founded.
- In 1998 the School of Natural Resources and Enterprises Management (located in Agrinio) was founded with two Departments: the Environmental and Natural Resources Management Department and the Department of Agricultural and Food Products Enterprise Management, which in 2006 was renamed Department of Business Administration of Food and Agricultural Products.
- In 1999 three new Departments came into being: a) the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, b) the Department of Biological Applications and Technologies, and c) the Department of Art Sciences, which in 2003 was renamed Department of Plastic Arts and Art Sciences.
- In 2002 the School of Sciences and Technologies was founded and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering as well as the Department of Biological Applications and Technologies were integrated into the School.
- The Department of Cultural Heritage Management and New Technologies (located in Agrinio), started to operate in 2005 as an independent non-School Department.
Today, the University of Ioannina includes 17 academic Departments which altogether number 13,523 undergraduate students. A number of organised postgraduate study programmes are on offer that combine taught and research elements both at Master's and Doctoral level. Approximately 1,300 students are involved in full-time study mode progressing to a Master's degree, while 2,217 students are currently pursuing their studies at Doctoral level. The postgraduate student population is increasing yearly.
The University faculty numbers 549 Members of Academic Staff, while teaching in all the Departments is further supplemented by 171 Teaching Fellows and 132 Technical Laboratory Staff. Finally, the University Administrative Services are staffed with 420 employees.
A significant step for the organization of the University was the approval and publication of the University Statutes in 2005.
Within a 42-year span the size of the University of Ioannina has almost doubled and its development prospects appear to be particularly promising. This is likely to have a continuing positive contribution to both the academic community and the region as a whole.