Lviv University

Ivan Franko National
University of Lviv
Львівський національний університет імені Івана Франка
Latin: Universitas Leopoliensis
Former names
Uniwersytet Jana Kazimierza
(John Casimir University)
Motto Раtriаe dесоri сіvibus еducаndis
Motto in English
Educated citizens - glory of the Motherland
Type Public
Established 1661
President Volodymyr Melnyk
Students 11649
Location Lviv, Ukraine
Specialty programs 111
Colors Blue and Gold         

Lviv University (Ukrainian: Львівський університет) or officially the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (Ukrainian: Львівський національний університет імені Івана Франка) is the oldest continuously operating university in Ukraine. It is located in the historic city of Lviv in Lviv Oblast of Western Ukraine.



The university was founded on January 20, 1661 when King John II Casimir of Poland issued the diploma granting the city's Jesuit Collegium, founded in 1608, "the honour of the academy and the title of the university". The Jesuits had tried to create the university earlier, in 1589, but did not succeed. Establishing another college in Poland was seen as a threat by authorities of Kraków's Jagiellonian University, who did not want a rival and for many years managed to halt plans of the Jesuits.

King John II Casimir was a sympathizer of the Jesuits and his stance was crucial. The royal diploma was confirmed by another act issued in Częstochowa on February 5, 1661. Creation of the school was also stipulated by the Treaty of Hadiach (1658). One of its articles stated that a Ruthenian academy was to be created in Kiev and another one should be created in an unspecified location, most likely in Lwów/Lviv, which was an important center of the Greek Catholic church.

In 1758 King Augustus III issued a decree, which described the Collegium as an Academic School, in fact equal to the Jagiellonian University, with two departments: theology and philosophy.

Under Austrian rule

In 1772 Lwów/Lviv was annexed by Austria (see: Partitions of Poland). In 1773 the Society of Jesus was dissolved by Rome (Dominus ac Redemptor) and, as the partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth caused that the school was excluded from the Commission of National Education reform, it was renamed into Theresianum by the Austrians, i.e. State Academy. 21 October 1784 the Austrian Emperor Joseph II signed an act of foundation of the secular university. He started germanisation of the institution by bringing German-speaking professors from the various parts of the Empire. The University had four departments - theology, philosophy, law and medicine. Latin was the official language of the school, with Polish and German as the supportive ones. Literary Slaveno-Rusyn (Ruthenian/Ukrainian) of the period was used in the Studium Ruthenum (1787-1809), a special institute of the university for educating candidates for Uniate (Greek-Catholic) priesthood.[1]

In 1805 the university was closed, as Austria, then involved in the Napoleonic wars, did not have sufficient funds to support it. Instead, a high school was established. The university reopened in 1817; officially Vienna described it as an act of mercy, but reasons were different. The Austrian government were well-aware of the pro-Polish policies of Russian Emperor Alexander I and they wanted to counterbalance it. However, quality of education was not high; Latin was replaced by German and most professors were mediocre. The few good ones regarded their stay in Lviv as a springboard to other careers.

In 1848, when pan-European revolution reached Lviv (see: Revolutions of 1848), students of the university created two organizations—the Academic Legion and Academic Committee—demanding that the school be polonized. The government in Vienna answered with force, and on November 2, 1848, center of the city was shelled by the troops of General Hammerstein striking buildings in the university, especially the library. Soon afterwards, curfew was established and the university was temporarily closed.

The school was reopened in January 1850, with limited autonomy. After a few years the Austrians relented and on July 4, 1871 Vienna declared Polish and Ruthenian (Ukrainian) official languages at the university. Eight years later this was changed. The Austrian authorities declared Polish as official and Ruthenian and German as auxiliary. Examinations in two latter languages were possible as long as the professors spoke them. This bill created unrest among the Ruthenians (Ukrainians), who were demanding equal rights. Finally, a Ruthenian student of department of philosophy, Miroslaw Siczynski murdered in 1908 the Polish governor of Galicia, Andrzej Potocki.

Meanwhile, the Lviv University was thriving, becoming one of two existing Polish language colleges (the other one was the Jagiellonian University in Kraków). Its professors were famous across Europe, with such renowned names as Wladyslaw Abraham, Oswald Balzer, Szymon Askenazy, Stanislaw Zakrzewski, Zygmunt Janiszewski, Kazimierz Twardowski, Benedykt Dybowski, Marian Smoluchowski and Ludwik Rydygier.

In the 70s of the 19th century Ivan Franko studied at L'viv University. He entered the world history as a well-known Ukrainian scholar, public figure, writer and translator. The newly founded Chair of World History and the History of Eastern Europe was headed by Professor Mykhailo Hrushevskyi (1866-1934), the most outstanding scholar of Ukrainian History, author of the ten-volume "History of Ukraine-Rus'", hundreds of works on History, History of Literature, Historiography, Source Studies, founder of the Ukrainian Historical School.

Jan Kazimierz University (1919–39)

The main building of Lviv University was constructed to house the Diet of Galicia and Lodomeria

From 1919 until September 1939, in the Polish Second Republic era, the university was known as Jan Kazimierz University (Polish: Uniwersytet Jana Kazimierza) in honor of its founder King John II Casimir Vasa. The decision to name the school after the king was taken by the government of Poland on November 22, 1919.

Jan Kazimierz University was the third biggest academic center of the country (after the University of Warsaw and the Jagiellonian University in Kraków). On February 26, 1920, the university received from the Polish government the building formerly used by the Sejm of the Land, which has since been the university's main edifice. Its first rector in the Second Polish Republic was the famous poet Jan Kasprowicz.

In 1924 the Philosophy Department was divided into Humanistic and Mathematical-Biological Departments, thus there were five departments:

Altogether, in the academic year 1934/35 there were 5900 students at the university, among which:

Ukrainian professors were required to take a formal oath of allegiance to Poland; most of them refused and left the university in early 1920s. The principle of "numerus clausus" had been introduced following which the Ukrainians were discriminated when entering the University (not more than 15% of the applicants' total number, the Poles enjoying not less than the 50% quota at the same time).[2]

Ivan Franko University

In 1939, after the Polish September Campaign and the accompanying Soviet invasion, the Soviet occupiers permitted classes to continue. Until late 1939, the school worked in the pre-war Polish system. On October 18, however, the Polish rector, Professor Roman Longchamps de Bérier was dismissed, and was replaced by a prominent Ukrainian historian, Mykhailo Marchenko, grandfather of Ukrainian journalist and dissident Valeriy Marchenko. Marchenko was determined to transform the University of Lwow into the Ukrainian National University.[3] On January 8, 1940, the university was renamed Ivan Franko Lviv State University.[3] Polish professors and administrative assistants were increasingly fired and replaced by Ukrainians or Russians, specializing in Marxism, Leninism, political economics, as well as Ukrainian and Soviet literature, history and geography.[3] This was accompanied by the closing of departments seen as related with the religion, free-market economics, capitalism, or the West in general; this included Polish geography, literature, or history.[3] Lectures were held in Ukrainian and Polish (as auxiliary). In the period 1939-1941 the Soviets also executed over a dozen members of the Polish faculty.[3]

Ivan Franko University (2014)

In July 1941 the Nazi German occupiers closed the university, followed by the massacring two dozen Polish professors (as well as members of their households and guests, increasing the total number of victims to above forty), who included members of other academic institutions, too.[3] The extent to which Ukrainian nationalists may have been involved in identifying and selecting some of the victims is still a matter of debate, as Polish historian Adam Redzik wrote, while the Ukrainian nationalist students helped prepare lists of Polish intellectuals, it is unlikely they expected or knew about their intended purposes (i.e., the executions).[3]

In the summer of 1944, the advancing Red Army, assisted by Polish Home Army forces locally implementing Operation Burza, pushed the Wehrmacht out of Lviv and the university reopened. At first, its academic staff consisted of Poles, but within the following months most of them, together with the Polish population of the city, were "evacuated" in the expelled, as Stalin had moved Poland's borders far to the west. The traditions of Jan Kazimierz University have been preserved at the University of Wrocław, which was established after the German inhabitants of that city had been expelled following Stalin's establishing Germany's eastern border farther to the west.

The proclamation of the independence of Ukraine in 1991 brought about radical changes in every sphere of University life. Professor, Doctor Ivan Vakarchuk, a renowned scholar in the field of Theoretical Physics, had been Rector of the University since 1990 till 2013. Meeting the requirements arising in recent years new faculties and departments have been set up: the Faculty of International Relations and the Faculty of Philosophy (1992), the Faculty of Pre-Entrance University Preparation (1997), the Chair of Translation Studies and Comparative Linguistics (1998). Since 1997 the following new units have come into existence within the teaching and research framework of the University: the Law College, The Humanities Centre, The Institute of Literature Studies, The Italian Language and Culture Resource Centre. The teaching staff of the University has increased amounting to 981, with scholarly degrees awarded to over two thirds of the entire teaching staff. There are over one hundred laboratories and working units as well as the Computing Centre functioning here. The Zoological, Geological, Mineralogical Museums together with those of Numismatics, Sphragistics and Archeology are stimulating the interests of students.[2]


Research divisions and facilities

Notable alumni

Notable professors


See also


  1. Magocsi, Paul R. A history of Ukraine: the land and its peoples. University of Toronto Press, 2010. Pg. 425.
  2. 1 2 Brief history of L'viv University
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Adam Redzik, Polish Universities During the Second World War, Encuentros de Historia Comparada Hispano-Polaca / Spotkania poświęcone historii porównawczej hiszpańsko-polskiej conference, 2004
  4. "Головна".
  5. "Головна".
  6. "Faculty of Biology of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv".
  8. "Хімічний факультет".
  9. "Головна".
  10. "Економічний факультет ЛНУ".
  11. "Механіко-математичний факультет Львівського національного університету імені Івана Франка".
  12. "Головна".
  13. "Головна".
  14. "Головна".
  15. "Головна".
  17. "Головна".
  18. "Головна".
  19. "Головна".
  20. "Головна".
  22. "Головна".
  23. "Науково-дослідна частина".
  24. "Зоологічний музей Львівського національного університету імені Івана Франка".
  26. "Wrong address: Redirecting...".
  29. "Про нас".
  36. Hrushevsky, M., Bar Starostvo: Historical Notes: XV-XVIII, St. Vladimir University Publishing House, Bol'shaya-Vasil'kovskaya, Building no. 29-31, Kiev, Ukraine, 1894; Lviv, Ukraine, ISBN 5-12-004335-6, pp. 1 – 623, 1996.
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Coordinates: 49°50′26″N 24°01′20″E / 49.84056°N 24.02222°E / 49.84056; 24.02222

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