University of Santiago, Chile

Jump to navigation Jump to search
Universidad de Santiago de Chile
Escudo de la Universidad de Santiago.svg
Universidad de Santiago de Chile seal
MottoLabor Lætitia Nostra (Latin)
Motto in English
Work is Our Joy
EstablishedJune 21, 1849 (EAO)
April 9, 1947 (UTE)
March 21, 1981 (USACH)
RectorJuan Manuel Zolezzi
Academic staff
Location, ,
CampusUrban (340,000 m²)

The University of Santiago, Chile (Usach) (Spanish: Universidad de Santiago de Chile) is one of the oldest public universities in Chile. The institution was born as Escuela de Artes y Oficios (Spanish: School of Arts and Crafts) in 1849, under the government of Manuel Bulnes. It became Universidad Técnica del Estado (Spanish: Technical University of the State) in 1947, with various campuses throughout the country. In 1981, as a consequence of a reform on higher education under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, it became what is now known as Universidad de Santiago de Chile, with all activities centered in a single 340,000 m² campus in the capital Santiago.


The University of Santiago of Chile (USACH) started as the School of Arts and Crafts in 1849. It was born in mid-20th century and it is the fifth oldest university in Chile.

Escuela de Artes y Oficios[edit]

EAO commemorative stamp

The Escuela de Artes y Oficios (EAO)(Spanish School of Arts and Crafts) was founded in July 6, 1849 during the Manuel Bulnes Prieto rule, to improve scientific and technical development in the country. It started with four workshops: Mining, Mechanics, Casting and Carpentry. At the time, students ages ranged between 15 and 18 years old, thus making the EAO not a University, but a secondary education entity. Students were required to read and write and to know basic arithmetic operations. Besides being intensely trained in workshops, students studied algebra, descriptive geometry, trigonometry, technical drawing, industrial mechanics, physics and chemistry, besides Spanish, history and geography. This was a four-year education that later, in 1858, extended to five years. Graduates were called 'apprentices'.

In 1886 the EAO moved to a bigger building, located at Quinta Normal, where it would stay up until now. In 1912 it started to educate 'industrial sub-engineers', later known as 'technicians'. By the time, the EAO was able to grant two education level degrees: Arts and Crafts degrees (secondary education level) and Technician degrees (tertiary education level), and by 1936 it granted Industrial Engineering degrees too.

Universidad Técnica del Estado[edit]

Later during the presidency of Gabriel González Videla through the DFL Decree No. 1831 of April 9, 1947, the School of Arts and Crafts was joined with the School of Mining in Copiapó (1857), La Serena (1887) and Antofagasta (1918), with the Industrial Design Schools (1905) in Temuco (1916) and Valdivia (1934), with the Industrial Engineering Schools in Santiago (1940) and with the Technical Pedagogy Institute. Together these formed the Technical State University (Universidad Técnica del Estado, UTE), resulting in it becoming the best Chilean university in the area of applied engineering and industrial technician training. In February 8, 1952, the first statute that allowed the grouping to begin functioning as a university in legal, administrative and academic terms, was enacted. Its first president was Don Octavio Valenzuela Lazo (March 12, 1952 to March 12, 1953). In 1958, the Teknos, the university's troupe, was founded. Academic activity remained in the hands of the four Faculty Councils under the tuition of the University Council. During the 1960s, the DFL No. 2, 1971, allowed for the enacting of a second organizational statute, which allowed the University to be organized through offices, colleges, departments, and all academic structures that the board would deem appropriate.

The university is famous for its planetarium.

In 1968 due to the University Reform of 1967-1973, Enrique Kirberg Baltiansky assumed the rectory, the only university rector fully elected by faculty and students.

In 1971, during the government of Salvador Allende, Revised Statutes of the Universidad Técnica del Estado were approved. During the 1973 coup, Kirberg was removed from his post and imprisoned by the military regime, the statute previously approved was declared void, and new guidelines were reformulated with appointments done entirely by the military regime.

Universidad de Santiago de Chile[edit]

In 1981, the military regime through the DFL Decree No. 23 of March 21, 1981, divided the headquarters of the State Technical University, giving rise to new universities and professional institutes. Steps were taken to form the headquarters into the University of Santiago de Chile. The other sites became separately named universities such as the University of Atacama, the University of Antofagasta, the University of Serena, the Professional Institute of Talca (later transformed into the University of Talca), the University of the Bío-Bío, the University of La Frontera, the Professional Institute of Osorno (subsequently transformed into the University of Los Lagos), the Professional Institute of Valdivia (later integrated in 1988 into the Southern University of Chile) and the Magellan Professional Institute (later transformed into the University of Magallanes). The University of Santiago de Chile, near the University of Atacama and the University of Magallanes are the only heirs of the traditional State Technical University, because at the time of the dissolution and the creation of the new universities in 1981, the headquarters (Santiago), Copiapó and Punta Arenas, were not integrated with other university offices. The headquarters is located where the old School of Arts and Crafts used to be in the municipality of Estación Central. One of its symbols is the planetarium built in the 1980s.


View of the School of Arts and Crafts, Patio de los Héroes.

The university houses over 18,000 undergraduate students in 66 different majors, in the following departments:


University rankings
THE World[1] 401-500

In 2017, Times Higher Education ranked the university within the 401-500 band globally.[1]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Victor Jara, musician, theatre director, social activist, academic.
  • Sergio Campos, journalist, National Prize in Journalism 2011.
  • Carlos Caszely, former football player. Journalism graduate.


Estadio Usach is a multi-use stadium in central Santiago, Chile, named after the Universidad de Santiago de Chile. It is currently used mostly for football matches and until around 2003 was used to host the home matches for Club de Deportes Santiago Morning, which now plays in La Pintana. The stadium holds 3,000 people.[2]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°27′S 70°41′W / 33.450°S 70.683°W / -33.450; -70.683