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|Háskólinn á Bifröst|
|Students||ca. 1,000 |
|Former names||Samvinnuskólinn (the Cooperative College)|
Bifröst University is located in the valley of Norðurárdalur, approximately 30 kilometers north of Borgarnes, Iceland. Originally a business school, it also offers degrees in law and social sciences. As of 2007, the university has approximately 560 full-time resident students in its bachelors, masters and preparatory programs, with 700 other non-resident students pursuing bachelor's and master's degrees. A village, also called Bifröst, has grown up around the university.
The university was founded in Reykjavík in 1918 as a secondary school called the Cooperative College (Samvinnuskólinn). The school was run by the Icelandic cooperative movement (Samband íslenskra samvinnufélaga) and was originally intended as a training college for the staff of cooperative stores and other members of the movement. The founder and first head of the school was Jónas Jónsson from Hrifla, who was for many years a member of Parliament for the Progressive Party. He had studied at Askov folk high school in Denmark and Ruskin College in Oxford, and his ideas about education were innovative for the time.
In 1955 the school moved to its present location in the countryside. Within walking distance of campus are Lake Hreðavatn, the waterfall Glanni, and the volcanic cones of Grábrók and Grábrókarfell. At first, the school offered a two-year residential program in retail management for students aged roughly sixteen to eighteen. During the 1980s and the 1990s, the school slowly transformed into a university-level institution offering diploma and bachelor's programs in business.
In 1998, a tunnel was opened which reduced the driving time from Reykjavík to Bifröst to around an hour and a half, changes in Icelandic society increased the demand for higher education, and new legislation authorized universities to charge fees. Bifröst took advantage of these developments, expanded its programs and student numbers considerably, and began charging tuition to students in addition to receiving state support.
In 2006, the institution's name was changed from Bifröst School of Business to Bifröst University.
Headmasters and rectors of Bifröst University
Jónas Jónsson from Hrifla 1918 - 1955
Guðmundur Sveinsson 1955 - 1974
Haukur Ingibergsson 1974 - 1981
Jón Sigurðsson 1981 - 1991
Vésteinn Benediktsson 1991 - 1995
Jónas Guðmundsson 1995 - 1999
Runólfur Ágústsson 1999 - 2006
Bryndís Hlöðversdóttir 2006 - 2007
Ágúst Einarsson 2007 - 2010
Magnús Árni Magnússon 2010 - 2011
Bryndís Hlöðversdóttir 2011 - 2013
Vilhjálmur Egilsson 2013 -