Assessoria para Assuntos Internacionais e Interinstitucionais
The beginning of the University
An overview of the university campus in the early 1970's
The history of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul begins with the arrival of the Marist Brothers in Brazil. This religious congregation was founded by St. Marcelino Champagnat in La Vallá, near Lyon, France in 1817. In 1900, the first Marist brothers arrived in the town of Bom Princípio, RS, following a request by Dom Cláudio José Gonçalves Ponce de Leão, the Bishop of Rio Grande do Sul. Afterwards, several other Marist Brothers came from Europe, with the ideal Marist style of education in mind. As they settled in other towns, they also opened up Schools wherever they found there was the need for one.
Headquarters of the University until 1967 - Praça Dom Sebastião and Avenida Independência
In 1904, Escola Nossa Senhora do Rosário was opened on the premises of the church of the same name, with Monsignor Hipólito Costabile in charge of the parish. A few years later, in 1927, the School was transferred to Dom Sebastião Square, on the corner of Independência Avenue.
First students who graduated in Administration and Finance
The School of Commerce, under the leadership of Brother Afonso, was soon to be acknowledged as an outstanding institution. The students, who graduated as certified accountants and wished to continue their studies towards a college degree, advocated the foundation of the School of Political and Economic Sciences. In March 1931, this School was opened with nine students, and was the first step towards the creation of the University.
The project of the Marist Brothers, led by Brother Afonso, relied on the support of several other educators, such as Brother Faustino João, and professors Eloy José da Rocha, Elpídio Ferreira Paes, Salomão Pires Abrahão, Francisco Juruena, Brother José Otão and Antônio César Alves. In 1940, the School of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters was founded, followed by the School of Social Work in 1940, and the School of Law in 1947. These four Schools constituted the Marist Brothers' civil institution and were collectively given the name of União Sul Brasileira de Educação e Ensino (USBEE), to be certified as a university by the Ministry of Education.
Brother Afonso (Charles Désiré Herbaux) Founder
On November 9, 1948, Brazilian President Eurico Gaspar Dutra signed Decree no. 25794, by which the Schools were consolidated as the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, the first university in the world founded by the Marist Brothers.
On December 8, 1948, the first Administration Board was seated by Dom Vicente Scherer, who was the Archbishop of Porto Alegre and the Chancellor of the University; the Board was in office from 1948 to 1951, and was composed of: President - Armando Pereira da Câmara, Vice President - Brother José Otão, Dean of the School of Political and Economic Sciences - Francisco Juruena, Dean of the School of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters - Antônio César Alves, Dean of the School of Social Work - Mário Goulart Reis, Dean of the School of Law - Armando Dias de Azevedo.
The Presidents of the University that followed were Professor Canon Alberto Etges (1951 - 1953), Brother José Otão (José Stefani) (1954 - 1978), Brother Liberato Wilhelm Hunke), who occupied Brother José Otão's office for a short period of time (May 2, 1978 - December 29, 1978), and Brother Norberto Francisco Rauch (1979 - 2004). Since December 2004, Brother Joaquim Clotet has been in office.
Presidents of the University: Professor Armando Pereira da Câmara, Professor Canon Alberto Etges, Professor Brother José Otão, Professor Brother Liberato, Professor Brother Norberto Rauch, Professor Brother Joaquim Clotet
The University Sponsoring Institution together with Archbishop Dom Vicente Scherer requested Pope Pius XII to grant the University the title of “Pontifical”, and this was put into effect on November 1, 1950. All the work undertaken by the Marist Brothers has always been characterized by obedience and respect for the guidelines issued by the Pope. Therefore, the creation of the University would only be fully accomplished upon being granted this title, which signals steadfast devotion to the Vatican in Rome.
As a Pontifical University, the Archbishop of Porto Alegre is its Chancellor, today Dom Dadeus Grings. The previous ones were Dom Vicente Scherer (1948 to 1981), Dom Cláudio Colling (1981 to 1991) and Dom Altamiro Rossato (1991 to 2001).
Pope Pius XII - Granted the University the Pontifical title in 1950
University Chancellors: Dom Vicente Scherer, Dom Claudio Colling, Dom Altamiro Rossatto, Dom Dadeus Grings
Until 1960, the University shared the same area with Rosario Elementary and High School. As it grew, it was necessary to move to a larger area, and it was decided that the University Campus would be built on the land owned by the Sponsoring Institution in the Partenon neighborhood, where Colégio Champagnat was established.
Laying the foundation stone - March 1957
In March 1957, the groundbreaking of the School of Dentistry took place. Transferring the University Schools to this site gradually began in 1960. The difficulties encountered by the first groups of students were due to precarious transportation and all things involving pioneer construction. The grand opening of the School of Dentistry and the School of Engineering took place in April 1962. As other buildings were finished, other units were transferred from the downtown campus, and soon, this new campus accommodated the third private Brazilian University with Pontifical status run by the Marist Brothers.
Inauguration of the University Campus - September, 1968 - Arthur da Costa e Silva, President of Brazil
In September 1968, President Arthur da Costa e Silva attended the solemn inauguration of the University Campus.
Hospital São Lucas and Medical Center - Night view of the entrance to the Hospital
As the University expanded, more and more buildings and facilities became necessary and were constructed. With the opening of the School of Medicine in 1970, building a hospital became a pivotal issue. Hence, on October 29, 1976, Hospital São Lucas was inaugurated by Cardinal Dom Vicente Scherer, President Brother José Otão and the then-president of Brazil Ernesto Geisel. Later, it was made clear that bringing the hospital and medical offices closer together would enable those physicians who were also university professors to move more quickly between jobs. Thus, in November 1988, an innovative Medical Center with 120 offices was inaugurated.
Inauguration of Hospital São Lucas - Dom Vicente Scherer and Brazilian President Ernesto Geisel - October 1976
Aimed at the personal and professional development of the community where it is located, the University is constantly working on improving its infra-structure, the continuing education of its faculty and personnel, the updating of educational content and pedagogical resources. It promotes interaction with the community and improved quality of life, pursuing a national and international platform for its high quality social work. Throughout its history, a wide variety of projects have been created, including the following:
Labelo is the Electro-electronics and Calibration Experimentation Lab (Laboratórios Especializados em Eletro-Eletrônica, Calibração e Ensaios), and was initially created to meet the academic needs of the courses of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Today, it is seen as one of the three major technological service centers in the country, accredited by INMETRO, the National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality. It is also an international reference, accredited by DKD from Germany, which grants support within the entire European Community and to Underwriters Laboratories in the USA. Meanwhile, it is highly engaged in disseminating cultural education, having trained over 1,500 people in several states.
Vila Fátima Campus
The University has also focused its attention on citizens in need from Vila Fátima through its Vila Fátima Campus, where developmental programs are carried out both for the population and the University students.
Since its creation in 1980, both students and faculty have been actively involved in providing services for that community in several areas. Thus, academic education takes place through getting in contact with people’s needs. These activities rely on partnerships with the Ministry of Health, the Municipal Department of Health and the Welfare and Citizenship Fund, dealing with education, nursing, language and communication, architecture and urbanism, mathematics, medicine, dentistry, psychology and social work.
Environmental Research and Preservation Center - Pro-Forestry Project
The Pro-Forestry Project, developed by the University, is engaged in the protection, restoration and preservation of natural resources and biodiversity in Brazil, especially in a mountainous region of about 4,500ha, in the Araucaria and South Atlantic Forests, in São Francisco de Paula, Rio Grande do Sul. The Pro-Forestry Project brings together the efforts of Professor Jeter Jorge Bertoletti, the Director of the Museum of Science and Technology, and Wolf Engels, with the support of the University of Tübingen in Germany.
The Events Center is an area where scientific, cultural, entrepreneurial and recreational events are held, and also where equipment and materials can be exhibited. Its approximately 27,000 m2 in total size can be arranged into different settings so as to accommodate a variety of events. Some events include: the World Social Forum, the Annual Conventions of the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science (SBPC), graduation ceremonies and scientific conferences.
Museum of Science and Technology - Exhibition area
In order to promote and disseminate scientific knowledge throughout the community by making natural phenomena more accessible, especially to children and adolescents, the University has created the Museum of Science and Technology (MCT). Today, it is one of the largest in South America, and stands as a reference to other such museums in the country. It exhibits around 700 interactive experiments on natural phenomena and the ways man interacts with the world. The University is responsible for the museum’s construction and maintenance, consisting of five floors and two mezzanines in a 17,500 m2 area. There is room for displaying scientific and educational materials, exhibits, science fairs, modern labs for research, etc., for teachers’ continuing education and workshops. The administration is also located on the premises. The MCT started with the Course of Natural History and the activities carried out by professor Jeter Jorge Bertoletti in the 1950s. There is also the Traveling Museum (Promusit), which consists mainly of a truck towing a trailer which transports interactive experiments and dozens of pedagogical kits for workshops and mini-courses in smaller towns in the state’s countryside.
The Reflections Project was created to meet the need for the continuing development of the University faculty and employees, as part of its institutional plan. This important plan of action was established in 2000, so as to enhance the work done by these professionals with respect to university teaching and education, research, continuing education and community work. The plan also takes into account the competence and commitment of the people involved in these activities. The essential objective is to broadly and deeply reflect on the identity and the mission of the University which, as a Catholic institution maintained by the Marist Brothers, has a great responsibility towards people and society. This interaction has provided room for exchange and dialogue through the elements that characterize the University's identity, such as the Marist charisma and the centennial educational tradition of the Sponsoring Institution.
Virtual PUCRS - Distance Education Unit
Apart from the academic qualification provided by student courses, which disseminate knowledge and promote the education of caring and entrepreneurial professionals, particularly engaged in the progress of humanity, the University is a pioneer in the creation of a Distance Education Unit; PUCRS was the first Brazilian University to establish a satellite transmission network for teleconferencing and videoconferencing. Over 600 students have taken undergraduate, MBA and continuing education courses in this Unit since its creation in 2000.
The old saying "faith seeks reason, and reason seeks faith" well expresses the motivation underlying the establishment of Faith and Culture in 2000. This project materializes the Institution's View of the Future in a gradual but steady way, by means of a dialogue between "science and faith". There has been an ever-growing appeal towards intensifying the principles that constitute the Catholic faith, especially among university students, as well as towards discussing the progress of science and its application to the well-being of humanity.
With the purpose of contributing to the technical, economic and social development of the region and country, PUCRS launched Tecnopuc, its Technological Park, in August 2003. Its main objectives include: bringing in Research and Development enterprises for joint work with the University; fostering the creation and development of new technological enterprises which encourage innovation and interaction with the University; developing positive synergy within the academic and entrepreneurial environment, as well as coordinated activities with government agencies, particularly the Porto Alegre Tecnopole Project. The coordinator of this project is the Technological Management and Intellectual Property Agency (AGT), which is the institutional mechanism that aims to facilitate interactions between the University and businesses, to foster an entrepreneurial culture in the University by encouraging the development of research projects and relations with the business sector, bringing together the needs of the market and the expertise of University professionals.
As far as sports are concerned, the University's Sports Center plays an outstanding role with its state-of-the-art facilities for a variety of sports modalities. It is made up of two main areas, the 9-story Multipurpose Building and the University Stadium, adhering to the latest international standards. The first unit to be inaugurated was the Multipurpose Building, in 2003, which constitutes the nucleus of the Sports Center. This architectural and structural project consists of two sections - in one, there are multiple infrastructures, from the Physical Activity Assessment and Research Laboratory to an auditorium that seats 210 people with adjacent rooms for support, a computer lab and squash courts. In the other section, there are large areas distributed on four floors, each of which is two stories high. The main highlight is the heated swimming pool on the ground floor, which has lateral windows to allow for the coach to observe the swimmers' performance from underwater; this is the first 50-meter indoor swimming pool in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. The volleyball and basketball courts, the gymnastics area and the tennis courts are located on the other three floors.
The other large structure is the University Stadium, built over a parking lot. It consists of an official soccer field, covered with special resistant grass which recovers quickly. It also has a state-of-the-art running track covered with the same material that was used in the last five Olympic Games; each lane is 1.22m wide and 400m long. The Stadium also offers room for other track and field sports, such as high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump, javelin, discus, hammer, and shot-put. The grandstand is roofed and seats 2,100 viewers. Additionally, there are booths for referees and radio and television broadcasts.
Apart from hosting important competitions in various modalities on its premises, the PUCRS Sports Center corroborates the management guidelines of the University, which are based on quality, innovation, entrepreneurship and a solid relationship with the community.
The 2008 Social Report communicates the work developed by the University, through its faculty and employees for the social and cultural well-being of the community. The ever-growing social responsibility of the University, as an institution for education, research, and continuing education, is a strategic response which reflects transparency and ethical attitudes towards society.