Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla

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Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla
Univ puebla seal.png
Established 15 April 1587 as Colegio del Espíritu Santo
4 April 1937 as University of Puebla[1]
Type Public
Rector José Alfonso Esparza Ortíz
Students 65,685 (2010)
Undergraduates 51,089 (2010)
Postgraduates 3,017 (2010)
Location Puebla, Puebla, Mexico Mexico
19°00′03″N 98°12′02″W / 19.000742°N 98.200512°W / 19.000742; -98.200512Coordinates: 19°00′03″N 98°12′02″W / 19.000742°N 98.200512°W / 19.000742; -98.200512
Campus Both rural and urban[2]
Mascot Wolves (Lobos)

The Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP) (Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla) is the oldest and largest university in Puebla, Mexico. Founded on 15 April 1587 as Colegio del Espíritu Santo, the school was sponsored by Society of Jesus during most of the Spanish colonial era before turning into a public college in 1825 and eventually into a public university in 1937.[1] The religious origins can be seen in many of BUAP's buildings in Puebla city centre, which were once colonial-era churches.

The flagship campus is located in the city of Puebla, although more than nine facilities are distributed across the state.[2] Currently, it is one of the 105 institutes participating in the Alice Experiment at CERN.[3]


The history of the university in Puebla goes back over more than four centuries that have been rich in experiences and events. This text aims to raise awareness as to some of the main events that have happened from the foundation of the institution until the present, and that have contributed to shaping the school's profile.

From these readings we can see the image of a university in a constant process of improvement, which has kept up with the times, always linked to science and culture and to the best interests of the Mexican people.

Understanding these facts helps to strengthen the pride of belonging to an institution whose merits are recognized nationally and internationally: the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla.

Early days (1587–1790)[edit]

On April 14, 1578, the Puebla city council asked the provincial leader of the Jesuits in New Spain if they could foundan educational institution. On May 9 of the same year, the Jesuits took up residence in this city.

After several vicissitudes, and thanks to the resources of the carmine merchant Melchor de Covarrubias, on April 15 of 1587 the College of the Holy Spirit opened. The first rector was Father Diego Lopez de Mesa and one of the first remarkable students was Don Carlos de Sigüenza y Gongora. By the late 17th and early 18th century the humanists stood out, in particular Antonio del Rincón, Francisco Javier Solchaga, José Rafael Campoy, Diego José Abad, José Agustín de Castro, Francisco Javier Alegre and Francisco Javier Clavijero. In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled and their belongings were expropriated by King Charles III.

While the Jesuits were absent, the present University building was used for various purposes, among them the Colleges of San Geronimo and San Ignacio but, in practice, they were used as wineries and soldiers' barracks.

Colegio Carolino 1790–1820[edit]

The Old Building of the Colegio Carolino. Nowadays, it is a BUAP building.

The failures in the education offered in the dispossessed properties of the old Jesuit colleges in 1790 forced Bishop Francisco Fabian y Fuero to combine them. Thus the Real Colegio Carolino was formed, in honor of Charles III, a name that already had been used since 1770 and remained until 1820, the year in which the Jesuits returned to Mexico. The first rector was the lawyer Jose Mariano Lezama y Camarillo.

Royal College of the Holy Spirit (1820–1821)[edit]

The Jesuits returned. On October 2, 1820, classes began. Then the school was called Real Colegio del Espiritu Santo, de San Geronimo y San Ignacio de La Compañia de Jesus. Father Ignacio Maria Lerdo de Tejada was the rector. On December 22 the Jesuits were expelled once again.

Imperial College (1821–1825)[edit]

After the Independence, the regency of the first empire authorized the reestablishment of the college under the name of Imperial Colegio de San Ignacio, San Geronimo y Espiritu Santo. The rector was Father Ignacio Gonzalez de la Peñuela.

State College (1825–1937)[edit]

When the empire and the provisional government fell, major changes occurred in school structure. In 1825 the local congress gave the government "supreme authority over the Colegio del Espíritu Santo". Thus it became the Colegio del Estado (State College). Although complete separation from ecclesiastical authorities was achieved in governing the school, its rectors were still priests.

In 1833–1834 the school went through one of the most serious crises in its history. In 1843 they had 233 students. Despite the crisis, some of the people who graduated were as important as José María Lafragua, Fernando and Manuel Orozco, and Berra Manuel Carpio, and so on. In the same year it was known as Colegio Nacional (National School). In 1855 the General Study plan was implanted, issued by Santa Ana.

New imperial interruption (1862–1866)[edit]

During the French intervention and the Second Empire, the college and the city were attracted by the apparent security offered by the new government. The ephemeral nature of the empire and economic and political difficulties prevented school structures from being modified.

Liberal period[edit]

With the fall of the empire of Maximilian of Habsburg, the school was completely transformed. Liberal ideas replaced Santa Ana's regulations in education. Many liberals come to organize the educational system in Puebla. Among them were Ignacio Ramirez "El Nigromante" and Guillermo Prieto, but the most outstanding liberal was Ignacio Manuel Altamirano, who took over as president (rector) in early 1881 and made important modifications, which lasted until the college was transformed into a University. During the end of the 19th century and beginnings of the 20th century the height of the State College was achieved.

Revolutionary period[edit]

At this time, the dictatorship oppressed the people. The school was never separate from this reality, and among its students a desire for social renewal awakened. When Madero came to Puebla, the students had made their sympathy evident. This led to reprisals for Alfonso G. Alarcon, Luis Sanchez Ponton, Gil Jimenez and others who joined Madero´s cause against the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. Subsequently, the school was closed on July 24, 1919.

University of Puebla (1937–1956)[edit]

On April 4, 1937, the University of Puebla was legally established, at the initiative of General Maximino Avila Camacho. The institution was at the mercy of the dictates of government, which motivated subsequent student movements. The first rector was alumnus Manuel L. Marquez. In 1941, under the excuse that our country had declared war upon Germany, Italy and Japan, there was an attempt to militarize the university. Thanks to a student movement, that idea failed.

Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (1956–1987)[edit]

The University had wanted to be autonomous a since at least 1937. Nineteen years later, in 1956, this wish came true. The course of this movement consisted of several preliminary plans prepared by groups of students, which were used by the Student Federation of Puebla until their goal was finally reached between 1956 and 1957. After student demonstrations, supported by the press, on 23 November 1956, the Organic Law of the Autonomous University of Puebla was published in the official newspaper. In this law the existence of an Honor Council was included, one with superior powers to the University Council, which led to an argument between liberal and conservative students until the law was modified in 1963, making the Honor Council disappear.

Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (from 1987 to the present)[edit]

On April 1, 1987, representatives of the 50th Legislature, Carlos Barrientos de la Rosa, Guadalupe Sánchez Lozada, Miguel Guerra Castillo, Antonio Castelán Guarneros and Roberto Pozos Cuspinera, presented an initiative in the State Congress to bestow upon the Universidad Autónoma de Puebla the title of Benemérita (Distinguished). The initiative was approved in the legislative session on April 2, 1987, and the corresponding decree was issued. In 1991 the 51st local Legislature approved the Law of the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, which was finally updated on December 10, 1998.


The institution's motto is: "Pensar bien para vivir mejor" (Spanish for "Thinking well in order to live better").

Its logo features a phoenix bird in a shield. On the top of the shield, the Greek goodness of knowledge, Athena, is located.

The use of the word autonomous means that, as a public university, it receives funds from the government. However, the university is free to arm and to change the programs in the university considers it necessary.

As a macrouniversity, 34% of the students in higher level in Puebla attend the BUAP.


The sport teams of the university are named the Lobos (Wolves) BUAP. There are several sport facilities through the state for the students to take part in. The BUAP takes part in different competitions with representative teams in them.

The Lobos de la BUAP soccer team is currently affiliated with the university, and features some students from Puebla's public university. They currently play in the Liga de Ascenso league, the second most important soccer league in Mexico.


Direction of Libraries for BUAP in the historic center of Puebla

As a public university, the BUAP has several campuses located throughout the state to satisfy the students. In Puebla City, there are four main zones in which the BUAP operates: the "Área Centro"(Center Area), located in downtown Puebla and featuring many colonial-era buildings; The "Ciudad Universitaria" (University City), located in the Southeast zone in Puebla city, and it is where the main headquarters of the BUAP are; the "Ärea Salud" (Health Area), which includes the University Hospital; and the "Angelopolis Area" (Angelopolis Area), which is the newest and features the University's Cultural Complex. Along with them, the university is responsible for six high schools in the Puebla city.

Along with them, the University has nine regional sections which operate in some of the biggest cities in Puebla State, and are: Acatzingo, Atlixco, Chiautla, Chignahuapan, Cuetzalan, Libres, Tehuacan, Tetela de Ocampo and Zacapoaxtla.

Finally, the BUAP has three "foreign academic units", which act almost autonomously, located in the cities of Tecamachalco, La Magdalena Tlatlauquitepec and Teziutlan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. "Historia" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  2. ^ a b Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. "Unidades Regionales y Unidades Foráneas" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  3. ^ CERN. "The ALICE Collaboration". Archived from the original on 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2008-06-18.