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Historical profile of the University

The Università degli Studi di Brescia was officially established in 1982 with three Schools: Medicine and Surgery, Engineering, Economics and Business. However, the creation phase lasted nearly two decades, so the first attempts to open university courses in Brescia go back to the 1960s.


A first initiative came from the Chamber of Commerce and the Provincial Administration, which opened negotiations in the early 1960s to set up a two-year course in Engineering as a branchof Politecnico di Milano. The excessive financial requirements caused the project to lapse. After this first attempt, the creation of the future Schools of Brescia moved along two distinct paths, one concerning the School of Economics, the other those of Engineering and Medicine.


In the field of economic studies, in 1964 a School of Industrial Administration was created, offering two-year courses. It had its seat in Brescia but was subordinate, for administration and teaching, to the Università degli Studi di Parma. The institutions promoting the School were the Associazione Industriale Bresciana, which had already set up experimentally, two years previously, a decentralized first year course of the School of Economics and Business of Parma, and the Fondazione Milziade Tirandi, founded in 1915 and active from the 1920s in running post-diploma specialization courses in foreign trade. Since the courses initially set up by the Associazione Industriale had no legal or formal recognition, the action of the Fondazione Tirandi – which was a university foundation and as such held “the legal requisites to run a school” – allowed the institution of the Scuola di Amministrazione Industriale. A special agreement stipulated with the Università degli Studi di Parma meant that diploma-holders could enter the third year of that University’s School of Economy. At the request of the students themselves, at the end of the 1960s the teaching activities of the Brescia school were extended to the third- and fourth-year courses, at which point it became the “School of Industrial Administration and seat of parallel courses of the School of Economy and Business of the Università degli Studi di Parma”. The question of the seat was resolved when the Chamber of Commerce made available its historical building, the Casa dei Mercanti in Corso Mameli 27. A further step ahead was made at the beginning of the 1970s, when the academic authorities of Parma allowed the degree exams, as well as those of progress, to be held at Brescia. Collaboration between the Università degli Studi di Parma and the city institutions was also helped by the appointment of Franco Feroldi as Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Brescia in 1968. An economist, and born in Brescia himself, for several years Feroldi also presided over the School of Economy of Parma.

Engineering and Medicine

The creation of the Schools of Engineering and Medicine had a different history. The idea of setting up a university pole in Brescia, following the first failed attempt in the early 1960s, regained strength in the second half of the decade with the birth of the Consorzio Universitario Bresciano (CUB), promoted by the Provincial Administration, the Municipality of Brescia and the Chamber of Commerce. The CUB was succeeded in 1969 by the Ente Universitario della Lombardia Orientale (University Institute of Eastern Lombardy - EULO), a consortium strongly favoured by the Mayor Bruno Boni and created by the Municipality and the Province. According to its Articles of Association, the purpose of the new institute was to create the premises for the setting up in Brescia – alongside the seat of the Università Cattolica di Milano, which had opened in the meantime – of a State university, if necessary by means of agreements with other university institutions. Thanks to the EULO, lessons began in the 1969-70 Academic Year for the degree course in Mechanical Engineering, “by means of the repetition in Brescia of the courses held” at the Politecnico di Milano. Formally, this was not a branch of the Politecnico, since it consisted only of the repetition of lessons in Brescia financed by EULO. The Politecnico nevertheless gave considerable assistance to the new School of Engineering, with collaboration in teaching and research activities. The provisional seat of the Engineering School was in the Gerolamo Emiliani College, located to the north of the city, in Mompiano. This had initially been intended as a male orphanage and it was subsequently enlarged with a “didactic section” specially built by the EULO. The courses in Medicine began in 1971, again at the initiative of the EULO. These were run by a technical-scientific Committee and in collaboration with the Universities of Milan and Parma. The presence of a renowned hospital structure in the city was certainly a help to setting up the School of Medicine. Its seat, financed by the EULO, included classrooms and also spaces dedicated to research laboratories. It was naturally located close to the Spedali Civili hospital. Teaching was partly carried out by staff from the Universities of Milan and Parma and partly by teachers from elsewhere, appointed directly by the EULO itself. The students were enrolled as attending the degree courses of one of the two Universities that were part of the agreement.

Towards the birth of the University

Throughout the 1970s the three schools registered a steady increase in students. By 1980 that of Medicine had over three thousand enrolled students, that of Economics more than one thousand five hundred and that of Engineering around a thousand. The parallel paths that had led to the creation of the School of Economics, on the one hand, and the medical and engineering pole on the other, came together in 1982 when the EULO took over the running of the Scuola di Amministrazione Industriale from the Fondazione Tirandi. This was a necessary condition for obtaining state recognition. The Brescia University project therefore became a reality at last on 14 August of that same year when law 590/82 instituted the Università degli Studi di Brescia, with Schools of Medicine and Surgery (with two degree courses, in Medicine and Surgery and in Dentistry and Dental Prosthesis), of Engineering (with a degree course in Mechanical Engineering) and of Economics and Business (with a similarly titled degree course).


In January 1983 the Chairman of the EULO, Bruno Boni, signed the formal deed of agreement with the new Università degli Studi di Brescia, undertaking to advance the running costs and those for necessary investment. The University was represented for the occasion by Attilio Gastaldi, Chairman of the Technical-Administrative Committee which was to manage the University until December 1983, when its place was taken by the Board of Governors (the first meeting of which was held in February 1984). In the meantime, on 7 November 1983, Prof. Augusto Preti was appointed as the first Chancellor. Several full professors, originally of Parma or Milan, took up the option of Brescia, allowing the immediate, autonomous establishment of the Schools of Medicine and Engineering. The School of Economics was run for around two years by an Organizing Committee chaired by Prof. Innocenzo Gasparini.


1984 saw the institution of the first schools of specialization of the School of Medicine and Surgery. These gradually increased to reach the present thirty-five. The Degree Course in Civil Engineering was set up in the 1986-87 Academic Year, while that in Dentistry and Dental Prosthesis was activated in the Academic Year 1888-89, once the necessary structure was available at the Spedali Civili. In the 1990-91 Academic Year the Degree Course in Electronic Engineering opened, followed a year later by that of Industrial Engineering. The University saw the expansion of its Schools in 1996 with the institution of the School of Law. This was strongly encouraged by the fact that Brescia was the seat of the regional Court of Appeal and T.A.R. (Regional Court of Administrative Justice). It was created by the transformation into a School of the degree course in law which had been set up in the School of Economics during the Academic Year 1990-91. In the meantime the University of Brescia was establishing a policy of purchasing new buildings and decentralizing the various schools over the territory. A city planning decision was made from the very beginning – with the full agreement of the Municipality of Brescia – to keep separate the Schools of Medicine and Engineering, on the one hand, and those of Economics and Law on the other. The former were located to the north of the city in buildings specially constructed to house not only the classrooms and the teachers’ offices but also the research laboratories necessary for scientific schools. The latter, requiring less space, were located in the heart of the old city centre (the Carmine zone). This has enabled a programme of building restoration and social restructuring. During the 1990s a number of significant historical building were purchased, such as the ex-Convent of San Faustino, since 1997 the seat of several departments of the School of Economics and the University didactic offices, the S. Chiara complex, inaugurated in 2001 and the seat of the classrooms and other departments of the School of Economics, and Palazzo Calini ai Fiumi, seat of the School of Law since 1999. The scientific pole located to the north of the city includes the structure of the School of Medicine, specially built back in 1971 by the EULO in the area adjacent to the hospital and recently enlarged to more than double its original size, and the new seat of the School of Engineering, inaugurated in 1992 and recently enlarged. Following the recent reform of teaching regulations, the University of Brescia has reshaped its didactic setup. It now provides a total of 25 bachelor degree courses (thirteen in Medicine, eight in Engineering, three in Economics and one in Law). It also offers four combined bachelor and master degree (Laurea magistrale a ciclo unico) courses (two in the School of Medicine and one each in those of Engineering and Law), seventeen Master Degree (Laurea magistrale) courses (five in Economics, nine in Engineering and three in Medicine and Surgery), three University Masters, forty-two schools of specialization and twenty-three doctoral courses with their administrative centre at the Università degli Studi di Brescia.