University of Vienna (Vienna University), Alma Mater Rudolphina, founded 1365 by Duke Rudolf IV and his brothers, Albrecht III and Leopold III, on the example of Paris; oldest still existing university in the German-speaking countries. At first it was only permitted to have 3 faculties (Arts, Law, and Medicine); in 1384 under Albrecht III (Heinrich Heinbuche von Langenstein) it obtained papal confirmation permitting it to establish a faculty of theology. The University of Vienna reached a high point of academic achievement during the period of Humanism (K. Celtis) around 1500 (between 1451 and 1518 almost 30,000 students enrolled); plague epidemics, the Turkish advance up to Vienna (1529) and the spread of Protestantism in the 1st half of the 16th century were preludes to a decline, which could not even be completely halted by state intervention ("Reformatio nova" by Ferdinand I, 1554). In 1623 ("Sanctio pragmatica") the Faculties of Theology and of Philosophy were assigned to the Jesuits (Jesuit School and Educational Organisation), and the number of students started to rise considerably. Empress Maria Theresia and Emperor Joseph II eliminated the influence of the Catholic church and the last self-governing institutions at the University of Vienna, converting it into a state institution and giving special prominence to the Medical Faculty. Restructured after 1848 (L. Thun-Hohenstein), it gained fresh impetus and won international attention (Vienna School of Medicine, Nobel Laureates), which waned again after the decline of the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1922 the Protestant Theological Faculty, which had existed since 1850, was incorporated into the University of Vienna, which was subdivided into 8 faculties in 1975: Catholic Theology, Protestant Theology, Legal Sciences, Social and Economic Sciences, Medicine, Fundamental and Interdisciplinary Studies, Liberal Arts, and Formal and Natural Sciences. More than one third of all Austrian students attend the University of Vienna.
Lectures were first given in the Bürgerschule zu St. Stephan school, then the University of Vienna moved to the Collegium ducale (1384/85) and Collegium iuristarum (Schulerstraße street 14) endowed by Albrecht III; the Nova Structura was also established (1423/25) - all buildings were located near the Dominican Monastery in Vienna's 1st district. From 1624 on the university quarter was altered in Baroque style with the construction of the Academic College (Jesuit College); in 1756 it was enlarged by attaching the new Aula ("Alte Universität"/"Old University", since 1857 seat of the Academy of Sciences); after 1848 most lectures were given in the Theresianum or in the Josephinum. In 1873-1884 the new university building was erected on Ringstraße boulevard by H. Ferstel; numerous department buildings were erected in its vicinity (1872-1915); the Neues Institutsgebäude ("New University Building") and the Universitäts-Sportzentrum ("University Sports Centre") Schmelz (15th district of Vienna) were built in 1962 and 1973, respectively, the Biologiezentrum ("Biology Centre") in Vienna's 9th district was opened in 1982; the Faculty of Legal Sciences moved into the newly constructed "Juridicum" in the 1st district in 1984; since 1997 the old General Hospital building in Vienna´s 9th district has been used as a campus for the Faculty of Arts and Cultural Sciences.
Literature: J. Aschbach, Geschichte der Wiener Universität, 3 vols., 1865-1888; F. Gall, Alma Mater Rudolphina 1365-1965, 31965; G. Hamann et al. (eds.), Das Alte Universitätsviertel in Wien, 1385-1985, 1985; P. Uiblein, Mittelalterliches Studium an der Wiener Artistenfakultät, 1987.
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