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History

The University of Clermont from its creation to today.

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A first University existed between the 12th century and the late 15th century in Billom, with up to 2,000 students, equal to the great universities of Montpellier, Toulouse and Paris. In the early 16th century, the bishop of Clermont, Thomas Duprat, founded a university in Issoire, inaugurated by the king in February 1519. Following petitions by Charles de Bourbon and the University of Paris, however, the university was closed in 1520. In 1681, the king authorised the creation of a college of medicine in Clermont. A Faculty of Literature was created in 1808 but was closed with the Restoration in September 1815.

1854 marked the beginning of State-recognised university activity in Clermont-Ferrand. In 1872, Emile Alluard, a professor of physics, obtained the construction of the meteorological observatory on the summit of the Puy-de-Dôme, at that time the first mountain resort in Europe. The limnological station in Besse-en-Chandesse was created in 1899, with the aim of studying the fauna and flora of the Auvergne lakes.
The Institute of Chemistry and Industrial Technology, which would later become the Graduate School for Chemistry, opened its doors in 1911.

It was the Second World War, however, that deeply ingrained university life in Clermont, with the transfer of the faculties of Strasbourg in 1939, fleeing German occupation. On 25 November 1943, the buildings were surrounded by the Gestapo, and the order given to arrest the deans, all foreign students and those originally from Alsace-Lorraine with potential links to the Resistance. Almost 50 students and teachers were arrested and Paul Collomp, a professor of Greek at Strasbourg, was assassinated.

The University started to take its current form in the 1970s with the building of the scientific and technical campus of Les Cézeaux and the creation of the Montluçon University Institute of Technology.

In 1976, the University of Clermont-Ferrand was divided into two entities: Clermont 1 (Legal, Economic and Medical Sciences) and Clermont 2 (Literature, Science and Technology).

In 1987, Clermont 2 was renamed Blaise Pascal University. As a multidisciplinary university, it could not have chosen a better eponym than this great universal mind, both a philosopher, a scientist and a man of letters.

In 1990, Clermont 1 was renamed the University of Auvergne.

In 2012, the two universities were reunited. This decision was the result of a process of reflection on how best to structure the site, and aimed to make the most of the new framework introduced by 2013 Act on higher education and research.

On 1 January 2017, the University of Auvergne and Blaise-Pascal University merged to become the University of Clermont Auvergne.


Find out more

  • Biography and works of Blaise-Pascal
  • 1939-1945: the University of Strasbourg retreats to Clermont-Ferrand