The Catholic University of the Vendée (Institut Catholique d'Etudes Supérieures - ICES), founded in 1989, is a small private university located in Vendée region of western France. ICES has uitilized the concept in higher education, introduced by its first Director, Hervé Grollier, of the “University School”: a blend of the French Grandes écoles and the traditional state university.
ICES has a main building, designed by the French architect Denis Laming, that was built between 1990 and 1994. The University Library was completed in 1997. [full citation needed] A student residence was established in the abandoned convent of the Sisters of the Christian Schools of Mercy in 2000.
In France, diplomas in broad subject areas such as Biology, Law, History, Languages, etc. are mostly proposed in state-run universities. ICES proposes state diplomas in broad study areas with pedagogical and educational standards that resemble those of elite Grandes écoles. ICES’ 900 students follow classes, conferences and symposia given by nationally and internationally renowned professors from France and abroad.