Agricultural University of Athens
|Agricultural University of Athens|
|Γεωπονικό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών|
The University is located on the alluvial plain of the Kifisos river. Its address is 75 Iera Odos. It is bordered by Kavalas avenue, Spyrou Patsi Street, the bus depot of AUTO, and the FAGE factory. To its east lies the ancient cemetery of Kerameikos and to the west was the location of Plato's olive, whose remains are exhibited inside the main building of the University. The site is located in two by the Iera Odos (Sacred Way) which connects Athens and Eleusis.
The plain where the University is located was created by the perioding flooding of the Kifisos river. In antiquity the district of Elaionas (olive grove in Greek) where the university is located was considered among the healthiest of Athens. The largest part of the site where the university is located was appropriated by Hadji Ali Haseki, an 18th-century Ottoman ruler of Albanian origin of Athens and used as his personal farm. From his time survives one building on the University which is one of the very few of that time that still stands in Athens, though not in its original condition. After the 1821 revolution the plot was confiscated along with the rest of Turkish property of Greece and became the Ruf National Farm. In 1888, after the national benefactor Triantifillides donated money to create three post-secondary schools of Agriculture, one of them was created on the site. By some this is considered as the founding of the University. Others though consider 1920 as the founding date, when the 4 year Athens College of Agriculture was founded by law submitted to parliament by Eleftherios Venizelos. No matter which date is used it is still the fourth oldest University of Greece, after the University of Athens, the National Technical University of Athens and the Athens University of Economics and Business.
Early years (1920–1937)
The college was the first agricultural research facility in Greece. As its Greek name shows (Ανωτάτη Γεωπονική Σχολή Αθηνών) the college was originally modeled after the French Grandes Ecoles. First rector was Spyridon Hasiotis who is considered the father of agricultural science in Greece. In the early years the college lacked financial resources (a problem that still plagues education in Greece) and teaching facilities. In order to help overcome this problem a special fund was set up in 1928. The main income of the University was from the sale of its produce, while the buildings of the Triantafillideios School of Agriculture were inadequate for the needs of a College. At that time the university was under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture which guaranteed employment to all of its graduates, thus making the university very attractive to people of poor background. Students and faculty were involved in politics, something that the Metaxas dictatorship did not like and thus moved the College to the Thessaloniki in 1937, to become part of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
In Thessaloniki the situation was tougher, since all the work that had been done to improve the site was now useless, due to relocation. After repeated pleads the Occupation Government allowed the return of the College in Athens, but did not abolish the Agriculture Faculty of the Aristotle University which thus exists to this day, as the Faculty of Geotechnical Sciences of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Return and War 1941–1948
Upon return the Students and the Faculty found the installations under bad conditions. Also half the material was left in Thessaloniki to help continue the Faculty there. At least though during the occupation, a time when over 300,000 Greeks died of hunger the fields of the University provided food for the students and faculty. The great famine of World War II gave a sense of urgency to the University's founding mission: to help Greece obtain self-sufficiency in food. To improve the level of education a fifth year was added in 1948 as specialization. 1948 is considered the beginning of the post-war era with the foundation of the central building.
After the War 1948–1990
Using money from the Marshall Plan the central building was completed in 1952. In 1960 specializations were extended to the fourth year. The 1967 - 1974 dictatorship brought significant turmoil to the College, cultimnating in the suicide of lab technician Theophilos Frangopoulos in 1969, of cyanide poisoning. Greece's entry in the European Economic Community allowed European funds to flow thus allowing and expansion both in facilities and departments. Thus in 1984 for the first time Departments were formed. In 1990 after serious debate it was decided to rename the College to Agricultural University of Athens and further create more departments out of the old specialisations.
The six (or seven) current Departments were thus formed in 1990, which shared the largest part of the curriculum in the first three years and provided specialisation the last two. Over time though the programmes have drifted more and more apart, thus leading to the plan of complete separation between the departments in curriculum by 2010, but also thus stripping the title of agricultural engineer to everyone except alumni of the Departments of Plant Science and Animal Science. This is currently being debated at the University and decision has not been reached.
The University is divided into seven Departments
The General Department offers, which supports the other departments in Math, Physics, Chemistry and Geology, accepts only some PhD students. The other departments offer both undergraduate and graduate education to their students
- Agricultural University of Athens Official Website (Greek) (English)
- Agricultural University of Athens DASTA Office (Career Office & Innovation Unit) (Greek) (English)
- Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency (HQAA)(Greek) (English)
- Department of Food Science & Technology, HQAA Final Report, 2011 (English)
- Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, HQAA Final Report, 2011 (English)
- Department of Crop Science, HQAA Final Report, 2011 (English)
- Department of Animal Science and Aquaculture, HQAA Final Report, 2011 (English)
- Department of Agricultural Economics & Rural Development, HQAA Final Report, 2011 (English)
- Department of Natural Resources Management & Agricultural Engineering, HQAA Final Report, 2011 (English)
- http://mediaserver.aua.gr/ Agricultural University Of Athens Media Server
- http://www.gewponoi.com/ Online Students' Community of Agricultural University of Athens
- Greek Research & Technology Network (GRNET) (Greek) (English)
- okeanos (GRNET's cloud service) (Greek) (English)