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UNAM Through Time

A chronological history of UNAM A chronological list of UNAM Rectors

1950

The University agreed to bestow an honorary doctorate upon President Alemán. The Code for the Election of Representatives, Professors and Students, Advisory and University Boards was approved.

On March 25th, the National Association of Universities and Higher Studies Institutes of the Mexican Republic was created.

The first stone of the College of Sciences, the first building of University City, was laid. The creation of a National School of Political and Social Sciences was accepted. The Summer School split from the Office of Cultural Dissemination and was renamed Office of Temporary Courses.

1951

This was a very significant year, as it was the Fourth Centenary of the Royal Pontifical University of Mexico. Among the festivities, the University granted a series of honorary doctorates to a group of leading intellectuals in the areas of science, literature and contemporary thought.

The Mexican Scientific Congress was celebrated. A special book collection dealing with both the history of the University and the history of higher education during Colonial times was published. Other publications included the histories of the San Ildefonso, San Pedro and San Pablo colleges; monographs on buildings associated to the University, such as the Palace of the Inquisition, and the publication of research by some outstanding University members like Edmundo O'Gorman and Justino Fernández.

The honorary doctorates were awarded to Garret Birkhoff, Arthur Casagrande, Everette Lee Degolyer, Bernardo A. Houssay, Salomón Lefschetz, Norbert Wiener, Harlow Shapley, Otto Struve and Karl Terzaghi in science; Alfonso Reyes, Sigual Linne, Pitrim A. Sorokin, Hans Kelsen, Juan Ramón Jiménez, John Dewey, Jaime Torres Bodet, Paul Rivet, José Vasconcelos, Enrique González Martínez, who died this same Alfred V. Ridder, Jean Sarrailh, Angel María Garibay and Manuel Gamio in Humanities.

In other news, the founding process of the National School of Political and Social Sciences continued after the University Council approved the initiative during the previous year. Bachelor’s degrees in social sciences, political science, journalism and diplomacy were established. So was the Diploma in Consular Studies.

The National Preparatory High School grew, once the creation of campus 4 was approved. The school was to be located in the building known as “La Tabacalera,” originally the House of the Buenavista Counts, which was designed by Manuel Tolsá in the Ribera de San Cosme (street). The UNAM joined the National Association of Universities and Higher Studies Institutes of the Mexican Republic.

1952

Another election year, and PRI’s candidate was Adolfo Ruiz Cortínez, who began his political career in his Veracruz hometown, back when he worked at the seaport lighthouse and supported Venustiano Carranza’s government.

Failing to get the PRI’s candidacy, General Miguel Henríquez Guzmán became the presidential candidate for the Party Federation of the Mexican Populace. The electoral race also included Efraín González Luna for PAN and Lombardo Toledano for the PP. The short-lived Nationalist Party nominated General Cándido Aguilar, Carranza’s son in law and close collaborator.

Henríquez’ supporters developed a strong and protracted campaign. After the votes were cast, authorities in Mexico City’s Alameda Central repressed a group of them. At the University, the Governing Body reappointed University president Luis Garrido for four years more.

Raúl Carrancá y Trujillo was Secretary General. President Miguel Alemán participated in the University City ceremony on November 20th, ten days before his presidential term came to and end. The University Olympic Stadium was inaugurated on the same day. Adolfo Ruiz Cortínez became president of the Republic.

1953

An important modification in electoral legislation was passed: women now had the right to vote. Garrido resigned as university president and Doctor Nabor Carrillo Flores replaced him.

The University Council gave Garrido a vote of sympathy and welcomed doctors Carrillo Flores and Efrén C. del Pozo, the latter as Secretary General. Raúl Pous Ortiz, who was then the head of the National Preparatory High School, decided to create a Pilot High School Program in order to undertake a pedagogical experiment.

In November, the University president served as national presidential envoy and inaugurated the “Casa de México” in the Paris University campus. The creation of campus 5 of the National Preparatory High School was approved. Work would begin the following year on Miguel Schultz Street, in Colonia San Rafael.

1954

The University officially received the University City campus. The Office of General High School Instruction was established. The Personnel Office raised its category to that of a department.

The creation of campus 6 of the National Preparatory High School was approved. The Center for Philosophical Studies split from the College of Philosophy and Literature. Before classes started and colleges and schools moved into University City, a vibrant fair of industrial German products took place.

The American football team Pumas obtained a dramatic 20-19 victory over the Burros Blancos (White Donkeys) team from the National Polytechnic Institute at the University Olympic Stadium. The bases for hiring applicants to the positions of professor and part-time career researcher, as well as professor and full-time career researcher were established.

The UNAM Gazette began publication, thanks to Professor Henrique González Casanova’s initiative. The Mexican peso suffered a new devaluation; the exchange rate with the U.S. dollar was 12.50 pesos.

1955

The student population grew to 36 thousand 165 students, out of which 10 thousand 865 were sophomores. This was more than twice the amount in 1954. The new High School campuses, on the one hand, and the relocation of some colleges to University City, on the other, allowed for an increase in admissions.

Campus 5 of the National Preparatory High School moved to Miguel Schultz Street, to the former Hacienda de Coapa grounds, in Calzada del Hueso (street). This campus was located in the place originally intended for Raúl Pous Ortiz’ Pilot High School Program. The degreeplans for biology, mathematics, theoretical physics, experimental physics and doctoral mathematics and physics were approved. The office of Cultural Exchange and Scholarships was established.

The Commission in Charge of the Construction of University City became the General Construction Work Office, a dependency of the University Board of Trustees. Tuition fees remained between 40 and 250 pesos. Registration cost 20 pesos, and extraordinary exams 6 pesos.

1956

The Department of Psychology at the College of Philosophy and Literature became a college. The Distribution Department of University Books, a dependency of the General Publications Office, began operating.

The General Scholarship Code was approved. The study plans for the degreein astronomy were approved by the University Council, as were the plans for the doctoral courses in biology. The theater project “Poesía en Voz Alta” was established for purely cultural purposes.

Octavio Paz and Juan José Arreola, Antonio Alatorre and Margit Frenk were among its participants. Playwright and theater director Héctor Mendoza took charge as stage director.

Teacher Othón Salazar began a movement demanding pay increases for teachers nationwide. He also sought the recognition of a segment of the National Teachers Union, whose discontent marked what was an otherwise a peaceful year for the country.

1957

The Doctorate Council was created with the purpose of regulating and organizing graduate studies. The Institute of Engineering, A.C. joined the National School of Engineering at UNAM. The Geological Engineering degree was created.

Doctor Nabor Carrillo Flores was reelected University president for an additional four years while Doctor Efrén C. del Pozo was ratified as Secretary General. Theater in Coapa, a student theater group supported by Héctor Azar, a literature teacher at the National High School, was founded.

In other news, the PRI nominated Adolfo López Mateos, a Vasconcelos sympathizer and an UNAM alumnus who had been a member of the 1929-generation, as presidential candidate. The teacher’s movement headed by Othón Salazar grew stronger.

1958

Social unrest increased. While the demonstrating teachers froze activities in grade schools and took over the SEP's building and nearby streets, the railway workers, led by Valentín Campa and Demetrio Vallejo started their own movement.

In the meantime, López Mateos' presidential campaign continued without much political opposition except that of the PAN and their candidate Luis H. Alvarez.

Mexico City witnessed another social protest when university students began seizing buses and parking them inside University City to oppose a proposed raise in transportation costs. The city's transport system was literally paralyzed, leaving only electrical trolleys (which depended on the local government) and taxicabs to provide public services. Authorities finally repressed the students and a negotiation process began while the buses were returned.

A raise in federal funding allowed the University president to announce a payment balance for all University dependencies.

The Distribution Department of University Books split from the General Publications Office.

UNAM bought IBM 650 computer, which was installed at the Faculty of Sciences.  This computer was the first at UNAM, Mexico and even Latin America.

The Theater in Coapa theater group obtained the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize for best experimental theater group with their production of "Picaresca". The shows took place at the Teatro de la Capilla, thanks to the support of Salvador Novo.

Authorities repressed the teacher's and railway worker's movements, jailing their respective leaders.

Adolfo López Mateos became president on December 1st.

1959

The Casa del Lago became part of the Cultural Office and Juan José Arreola and Tomás Segovia were its successive managers. The group Poesía en Voz Alta performed there.

The University theater made successful productions of William Saroyan’s “The Beautiful People,” Thorton Wilder’s “The Skin of our Teeth,” and Héctor Azar’s “The Potter” and “La appassionata,” directed by Juan José Gurrola. The National School of Medicine became a college, as did the National School of Engineering.

An agreement between the College of Philosophy and Literature and the National School of Anthropology was approved: the College would validate courses taken at the school and grant the PhD degree. Campus 6 of the National Preparatory High School along with the Mayan Culture Seminar opened in the Mascarones building, which had been vacant since the College of Philosophy and Literature moved out in 1954.

The LP collection “The Live Voice of Mexico” began its series with an album recorded by Alfonso Reyes shortly before he died, which includes “Vision of Anáhuac” and “Cruel Iphigenia.”