The Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon was officially founded in 1933, although its origins are older with the schools of Law, Medicine and Pharmacy, Escuela Normal, and Colegio Civil which were established before that time. These were key principles for the foundation of the institution which took place in September, 25th, 1933 with a total of 1,862 students and 218 professors.

At its inception, this university’s name was Universidad de Nuevo Leon, now U.A.N.L. stands for Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon. The Maximum Academic Institution in the State, originally consisted of the Schools of Law and Social Sciences, Medicine, Engineering, Chemistry, and Pharmacy, along with Escuela Normal, Escuela Industrial “Alvaro Obregón”, Technical High School “Pablo Livas”, Industrial High School of Women Labors “Pablo Livas”, and the School of Nursery and Obstetrics.

Read more about UANL’s history or view a historical timeline.

Colegio Civil. The Founding of the University.

UANL history lies in three pivotal events of the country’s history: War of Independence 1821, War of Reform 1857, and Mexican Revolution 1910.

Our Maximum Academic Institution was founded in 1933, on the basis of the School of Legislation in the classrooms of Colegio Seminario de Monterrey. Some years earlier, on October 13th, 1823 the Mexican congress issued a decree requesting to school and colleges to establish chairs of natural and civil right.

This meant a new commitment for the State to provide education and leave behind clerical influence. Therefore in 1859, Colegio Civil and the School of medicine, both founded by Dr. Jose Eleuterio Gonzalez “Gonzalitos”, opened its doors.

Universidad de Nuevo Leon. A giant is born.

On May 31st 1933, the organizing committee enacted the first organic Law of the University and reads as follows: A public service institution devoted to the integral formation of the human person, on the same footing of equality, fairness, values, and practices.

With a total of 197 undergraduate students, and 1229 high school students, the University opened its doors on September 25th of the same year. The schools of Medicine, Laws and Social Sciences, Escuela Normal, Colegio Civil, technical schools “Alvaro Obregón”, and “Pablo Livas” were added to the institution.

Students and graduates of the University acted directly in the modernization of industry and in the transformation of infrastructure throughout the country. Health services and development of society were encouraged. For this reason, Genaro Salinas Quiroga considered that the founding of the University should be considered as an extraordinary event in the 20th century. José Emilio Amores went even further by describing it as the most important event of the 20th century in the State.

A socially engaged institution

The relationship between the State and the University came into conflict every time the balance of power shifted. Even if its Organic Law states about, the institution could not escape the prevailing political situation.

Although the reform was political, it was also true that in some sectors there was an agreement with the idea that education should be based on the ideology, postulates, and approaches of the Mexican Revolution. Those who supported maintaining academic freedom and education open to all horizons of thought were able to gain strength and organize a strong reaction, proposing a strike with important political and social consequences.

External actors used the University as part of their strategy of confrontation with the Cardenista government and the political system.

Crisis was resolved by the State authorities through the dissolution of the University on September 28, 1934, and the creation of the Socialist University Organizing Commission, chaired by Martinez Villarreal, and the Socialist Students Federation.

In order to give continuity to this project, Governor Quiroga created the Council of Higher Culture on September 7, 1935, a legal figure that served as a coordination of Schools and Colleges.

This University movement struggled to ensure services for students from humble backgrounds. In this sense, the institution created new educational units in order to carry out the program. One of its greatest achievements during this period was the establishment of the Night school of High School students (now High School No. 3) in December 1937. Now, the working class of the city had the opportunity to become professionals and to promote social mobility.

The Socialist tendency was emphasized and defended by students, professors, and authorities, but these were strident objections to openly show a philosophy in accordance with the central power, but this does not mean that historical materialism was the basis of university education. In any case, the socialist tendency was attenuated in order to avoid internal problems.

A scientific and cultural movement

Under Manuel Avila Camacho regime which started on December 1st. 1940, a new process of transformation emerged with the new policy of higher education. This process included freedom of speech as one of its postulates, this led to the reinstatement of University of Nuevo Leon and the creation of Ciudad Universitaria.

The second organic law of the University was promulgated on 13 September, 1943, which states as substantive functions of the University to provide technical and professional education, cultural dissemination, and research.

In this respect, the University established a fair balance through key actions such as the persistence of the Night School, the establishment of learning service and some efforts to conclude Hospital Civil “Dr. Jose Eleuterio Gonzalez”. In addition to that, new departments were opened at the service of the teaching staff and students of the School of Medicine. When Livas Villarreal took office as President of the University on November 20, 1942, recognized the purpose of the University: to teach, research, and disseminate towards an ideal of justice and social truth.

During the last year of Manuel Avila Camacho’s government the University was supported when the federal government gave an annual subsidy which would increase in the following years. This contribution made possible to cover urgent needs.

The University was involved in an ideological struggle imposed from the outside by student groups in the so-called Union Nuevoleonesa de Estudiantes Universitarios.  On October 6th, 1948, this group organized a strike demanding the separation of the President of the institution, and finally achieved their goal on December 4th of the same year, when Livas was removed from office.

The importance of Raul Rangel Frias

Under the Presidency of Octavio Treviño and the designation of Raul Rangel Frias on 1949, new ties of understanding were developed. A consultative council was established with representatives of the commercial, industrial, professional, and middle class sectors.

Rangel Frias had the ability to promote the integration of the university community through young leaders beaded by Noe Elizondo who showed strong interest in politics. In this way, the university community, the state government and the private sector engaged in a fruitful campaign to achieve common goals.

The literary magazine Katharsis and the newspaper El Bachiller came to life, as well as the genre of the university music magazine.

In the academic field, the School of Philosophy and Literature was born (1950), as well as the School of Commerce and Administration (1952) with the courses of Public Accountant and Auditor; the School of Physics and Mathematics (1953), School of Biology (1952), School of Agronomy (1954), and the School of Economics (1957). On June 2, 1952 the School of Medicine and Hospital Civil acquired the character of a university hospital strengthening the ideal of clinical practice for students in the hospital-school. At the same time, the Institute of Social Workers was incorporated into the University (1952) and the Centre for Humanistic Studies and the Centre for Economic Research were created.

The creation of new educational centres and the resultant widespread use of those centres has led to a lack of infrastructure and facilities at the University. During those years, students took up their teaching and teachers taught in crowded classrooms and often in ill-equipped. It was necessary to abandon the dispersion of buildings in the city and retake the idea which was incubated years before, the creation of Ciudad Universitaria in order to improve teaching conditions and simultaneously compensate the deficit of physical spaces.

With the influence of Rangel Frias as president of our institution, in 1955, and then as the governor of the State, an approximate of 247 acres were obtained from the Military field No. 2. Located in the limits of Monterrey and San Nicolas de los Garza, by legal decree on February 18th, 1957, under the presidency of Adolfo Ruiz Cortines.

In a first phase the School of Law and the School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering were opened, along with the laboratory and workshop sections. The swimming pool and the flag pole were inaugurated on November 20, 1958. During the following four years more schools were opened: the School of Civil Engineering, Commerce and Administration, Architecture, Philosophy and Literature, and Agronomy.

The new buildings also included the Central Administration Tower (1961), University’s shield on the main square (1961), and the Stadium, where Tigres Football Club made its debut in the second division.

Years of transition

Institutional autonomy emerged from 1967 to 1972, although this right was discussed since the foundation of the University in 1933, it was raised in a recurrent way, especially when the relationship of the university with the State or other social actors was tense.

The main campus, with was still unfinished, required a new expansion plan that should be completed by creating new buildings and laboratories. Some high schools were opened, High School 5 in Sabinas Hidalgo (1964), High School 6 in Montemorelos (1964), High School 7 in San Nicolas (1966), High School 8 in Guadalupe (1967), and High School 9 in Monterrey (1970).

In March 1968 the authorities of the State proposed as a viable option the autonomy of the Institution. A new plan of payment was suggested, students were supposed to cover quotas according to household economy.

In view of the concern it caused, expressed in strikes and rallies, the initiative was abandoned but it stated that the government was failing in the task of providing economic resources to the University. That generation of professors and students considered that the specific goals of the University should be recognized and respected by the State and exercised in the Institution.

In February 1971, a new process began to defend and definitively reaffirm institutional autonomy, with Hector Ulises Leal Flores as the President of the institution and Victor Bravo Ahuja as Minister of Education in Mexico. They led a conciliation effort through the amendments to the university law, which  eventually resulted in the enactment of the fourth Organic Law of the University promulgated on June 6, 1971.

Accelerated growth

A greater demand for higher education led to a three-fold increase in the school population, after exceeding ten thousand students. University infrastructure also grew, about a hundred thousand square meters were built.

New general high schools were established both in urban municipalities and in the rural area of the State in order to decentralize the educational structure of the upper secondary level. Thus, in 1973, some high schools were opened: High School #10 in Doctor Arroyo, High School # 11 in Cerralvo, High School # 12 in Cadereyta Jimenez, High School # 13 in Allende, High School # 14 in General Teran. Then in 1974 and 1975, High School # 15 in Monterrey, High School # 16 in San Nicolas, High School # 17 in Cienega de Flores, High School # 18 in Hidalgo, High School # 19 in Garcia, High School # 20 in Santiago, High School # 22 in Guadalupe, High School # 23 om Santa Catarina, resided the creation of the Medical Technical High School in 1974.

In response to this phenomenon and to expand opportunities for access to education, the University incorporated new educational techniques, such as open, semi-open, individualized and personalized systems.

UANL established an approach of mutual knowledge with one of the most important social sectors: the powerful business and industrial group of Monterrey. As a result the creation of new careers was in line with the demand of the productive sector and the industrial development of the country, and the opportunities for university students were expanded in terms of learning service, professional practices and employment opportunities.

“The capacity for dialogue and conciliation, while preserving ideological plurality, -explained the President of the Institution, Luis Eugenio Todd- brought peace of mind and began an era of academic creativity and political and social stability”.

Linares and Mederos Campus

During the administration of Alfredo Piñeyro Lopez (1979-1985) the unionist movements ceased, closing a cycle of high intensity struggle within the UANL.

Linares Campus was built within 217 acres of Hacienda de Guadalupe, as part of a large-scale project to develop and decentralize scientific education and research activities. In addition, the project to build a center in this place had as objectives to expand the areas of knowledge with the creation of nine institutes that would be formed with different colleges.

The University established another academic complex in the southern sector of Monterrey known as Mederos Campus. It brought together schools and colleges in areas related to the social sciences, arts and humanities: the School of Visual Arts and the School of Performing Arts both created on April 29, 1980.

The atmosphere of university stability was emphasized by Gregorio Farias Longoria (1985-1991): “The University is a harmonious system of differences that is maintained in balance based on respect among its components. Political, cultural, and social interests, as well as groups and individuals are presente and valid to the extent that they adapt to the established norms”.

One of the most significant changes in the Institution took place in the mid-1980s, when the development of informatics led to a more intensive use of microcomputers in the different departments, including the beginning of automation systems in administrative, academic, and research processes. Students received training in their use, until a change was made to the study plans to incorporate two subjects of introduction to computing in the third and fourth semesters. Professors were also trained in the use of this tool as a support to teaching and research. New spaces were built and equipped with computer laboratory and the Computer Services Center was built next to Capilla Alfonsina.

Education reform

In December 1991, the Maximum academic institution aimed at reaching academic excellence in order to increase the quality of the graduates at all levels. Under the leadership of Manuel Silos (1991-1996) an education reform was included in our school programs. This proposed a series of adjustments to high school curriculum, with a clear idea of improving content in the areas of Spanish and Mathematics.

As a result, the education reform which was to be completed in July 1995, significantly increased the terminal efficiency of its students from 51 to 73 percent.

In a broad sense, UANL experienced a marked development in all areas: the curricula was revised, the equipment of workshops and laboratories modernized, and language centers multiplied.

Emerging technology of internet simplified academic and administrative procedures online. The fiber optic network for digital telephone communication and data transmission, supported research and cultural tasks. In November 1994, the University Library “Raul Rangel Frias” was inaugurated, with all the advantages of the digital world.

Institutional plans

During Rogelio G. Garza Rivera (2015-2021) administration, UANL is now recognized by national and international organizations among the best from a global approach. This was achieved by establishing work schemes, promoting academic exchange and cooperation with social and productive sectors.

The creation and restructuring of educational programs were encouraged to favor mobility and academic exchange, as well as double degrees with prestigious foreign institutions, promoting inclusion and intercultural awareness.

UANL also expanded opportunities for access to a greater number of young people who wish to study at the University, reaching for the first time the number of registered students at the beginning of August-December 2018. This was partly the result of making education more accessible, such as the use of new technologies.

UANL 4.0 a new initiative which, in addition to training Human Resources with digital skills, promoted research and innovation within the framework of this technological revolution. To this end, programs were adapted and created to train human capital with 4.0 skills under the triple helix model: government-business-academy.

Some efforts were made for reducing water and electricity consumption. Sustainability criteria was established with the construction and remodeling of buildings to determine the efficiency of cooling and lighting systems. An institutional policy was implemented to reduce the environmental impact generated by their daily activities and to ensure transparency and accountability in their management and academic activities.

In this way, UANL is a socially responsible, plural, and inclusive world-class institution and a learning community open to change, innovation, and  collaboration.