History

Ghent University was founded in 1817, during the Dutch reign of Prince William of Orange-Nassau, and thus predates the Belgian nation as we know it today. The language of instruction was Latin originally, but soon after the Belgian independence (1830), it became French, the language of the intellectual and social elite.

After a struggle of almost 100 years, which deeply affected Belgian society, the native language Dutch was finally adopted as an academic language in 1930. This breakdown of the language barrier was an important step in the democratisation of university education in Flanders. Ghent University was the first Flemish university to teach in the local standard language.

Ghent University provides teaching and carries out scientific research in all main fields of study. More than 23,000 students are taught and supervised by almost 2,000 members of academic staff (of whom 400 are full or associate professors and 1,400 are lecturers and research assistants); another 2,000 administrative and technical assistants contribute to the smooth running of the university, which is one of the largest employers in Flanders.

Ghent University is an autonomous and open institution organising public university education on behalf of the Flemish Community.

The Veterinary School was founded in 1933 as "Veeartsenijschool", the second  veterinary school in Belgium, the first where students were taught in their own language:Flemish (Dutch). The school was officially recognised by law the 21st of June, 1934 (by Minister M.Lippens). The school was the Dutch-language counterpart of the French Veterinary Science Institute, at that time located at Cureghem and today belonging to the University of Liège.

The Belgian Nobel prize winner Prof.Dr.Cornelius Heymans, played a role in the establishment of the Ghent Veterinary School.

At the beginning of the fifties the Chairman of the Council of the Veterinary School Prof. Dr. em. Georges Peeters (well known lactation Physiologist with International reputation) started to discuss with the Director-General, Mr.Knaepen of the Ministry of National Education, about recognition of the School as a Faculty. At that time 3 possibilities were suggested:

  1. establishment of a Faculty of Agronomic and Veterinary Sciences
  2. integration into the Faculty of Medicine
  3. creation of a separate Veterinary Faculty.

In 1965 all Belgian Agronomic and Veterinary Schools were recognised by law as separate Faculties (law of 9th of April 1965). The Ghent School started as autonomic Faculty of Veterinary Medicine on the first of October 1968 with Prof.Dr.em.G.Peeters being the first Dean (1968-1970). It was the 7th Faculty of the University of Ghent.

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