Simón Bolívar University

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Coordinates: 10°24′37″N 66°52′52″W / 10.4104°N 66.8812°W / 10.4104; -66.8812

Simón Bolívar University
Universidad Simón Bolívar
Seal of the Universidad Simón Bolívar
Motto "La Universidad del Futuro"
Motto in English "The University of the Future"
Established 1967
Type Public
Rector Enrique Planchart
Academic staff 850(approx.)(2011)
Students 7.011 (approx.) (USB 2011)
Undergraduates 5.365 (5 yr) y 1.646 (3 yr) (approx.) (2011)
Postgraduates 1.282 (approx.) (2011)
Location Sartenejas, Miranda State, Venezuela
10°24′38.09″N 66°52′52.33″W / 10.4105806°N 66.8812028°W / 10.4105806; -66.8812028
Colors Yellow     
Laberinto Cromovegetal (1995) by Carlos Cruz-Diez, an iconic work of gardening art

Simón Bolívar University (Universidad Simón Bolívar in Spanish) or USB, is a public institution located in Miranda State, Venezuela with scientific and technological orientation.


On May 1967 the government created a commission composed by Luis Manuel Peñalver, Luis Carbonell, Mercedes Fermín, Miguel Angel Pérez and Héctor Isava to study the possibility of creating a new university that would offer studies to directly promote the economic and social development of the country. On July 18, 1967 the President of Venezuela Raúl Leoni signed a decree which officially founded the University as an Instituto Experimental de Educación Superior focused mainly on scientific and technological research. The original name given to the university was Universidad de Caracas; however, the first name of the Central University of Venezuela was also "Universidad de Caracas" and it was still known by that name. Members of The National Academy of History, the Bolivarian Society of Venezuela and other important institutions expressed their wish to relate the name of El Libertador Simón Bolívar to the name of the recently created university, which resulted in the change to the name of Universidad Experimental Simón Bolívar in 1969. Ernesto Mayz Vallenilla was the rector when president Rafael Caldera inaugurated the University on January 19, 1970.

From the confluence between the name "Universidad Simón Bolívar" and its slogan "The University of the Future", the Venezuelan designer, Gerd Leufert developed the design inspired by the photographic reproduction of an electrical circuit. The figure includes eight semicircular lines and a small rectangle in the center of them, forming a structure similar to a rounded pyramid, whose meaning is that of a gateway, which represent the unity of various knowledges and their projections into the future.

As 2010, the Simón Bolívar University has over 38,000 alumni[1]



Espejo Solar by Alejandro Otero, located at the laguna de los espejos

The closed-campus-style grounds are located in the Sartenejas valley, in the municipality of Baruta, Miranda State. Its total surface is approximately of 3,489,000 m². The valley is made up of two sectors. The first sector, a plain zone of approximately 90 acres (364,000 m²), raised about 1200 meters above sea level, contains the campus proper. The other sector is maintained as a nature reserve, due to its topographical characteristics, with an altitude between 1,200 and 1,400 meters above sea level.


The University holds great pride in the keeping of its gardens; it includes numerous species of plants and animals. They were designed following an English style by Eduardo Robles Piquer and were completed in 1974. Its first Rector Ernesto Mayz Vallenilla proudly holds the title of "gardener for life". Some of the most notable works of gardening are:

  • The "Laberinto Cromovegetal"
  • The pines planted in the surrounding mountains on the early years of the University
  • The tree planted by the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.


Aside from the gardens themselves there are several works of art all over the campus. In the library and the Rectoral building there are art galleries as well as there are works of art constantly displayed and renewed inside and just outside the library. And there are some other older more important and permanent works of art in other places of the outdoor grounds.


Library of the USB
Casa del rectorado 002.jpg
El hombre y la maquina.jpg

It offers the following undergraduate programs (B.Sc.):

It offers the following graduate programs (M.Sc., Ph.D.and Specializations):

Extracurricular activities[edit]

USB entry on the Formula SAE

Although the students at this university have a certain fame of being fully devoted to only their careers[citation needed], a great number of them participate in several extracurricular activities including sports, recreation groups, scientific groups, musical and theatrical performances and organized charity work.

Some of these organizations are based on international competitions in which they represent both, Simón Bolívar University and Venezuela, keeping the standard of innovation that has characterized this campus[citation needed]. Some of these competitions are:


Estructura Hidrocinética was designed in 1975 by Gabriel Martín Landrove
Simón Bolívar statue by the Peruvian artist Joaquín Roca Rey
Owl located at the Dean's office

Several myths and legends are part of the student's culture:

Do not walk behind Simón Bolívar: It is said that if you walk behind the statue of Simón Bolívar, next to the Dean's office, you will never graduate. In fact, the sidewalk in front of the statue is worn out as opposed to the sidewalk behind it which does not show evidence of traffic.

Rub the Owl's beak: It is said that those who wish to pass mathematics in the first trimester "must" rub the beak of a stone owl statue located towards the rear of the Dean's office, and if you graduate you're supposed to rub the owl's claws in a gesture of gratitude. It is jokingly remarked on how the beak is smooth and the claws rugged reflecting the ratio of people that start and those who graduate.

La Cebolla: The logo of the university is called "La Cebolla" or "the onion" in Spanish in contrast to its technological symbolism (it was inspired by the photograph of an electric circuit). It was designed to represent a group of doors one into another, a metaphor for the hard work and effort students have to do in order to walk from the big door that leads them in, to the little one that leads them out (see [5]).

La Escultura Hidrocinética: The Hydro-Kinetic Sculpture is one of the Simon Bolivar University symbols, located near the Rectoral House. It is related with a long history of funny tales that runs and change throughout generations of students, teachers and workers about its origin, design and the magical and mysterious way of function, most of them probably motivated to its long time of construction and a very generous imagination.

A brief history and description: The sculpture creation starts at 1975 when Gabriel Martin Landrove, a young USB's architect student, won an institutional contest. A long time of constructions took place until July 5 of 1991 when PHD Professor Stefan Zarea conducted the final works an inaugurated it.[2] The artistic concept was inspired on the morning dew condensed over a tree sleeve falling down into another one. The sleeves are represented with 576 metal trowel arranged as a matrix 48x12 in a conical truncated structure that allow the water to create multiple and smalls waterfalls. This huge structure can rotate over its own vertical axis and the movement is produced by a Pelton wheel dispose at the lower level of the conical structure. The rise of the water to the top and its rotational momentum is produced by hydroulic force drive by an electrical pump. There is also a tree level shallow pool, a top circular viewer and an intricate circular walk sides that complements the design.

The University turns it on during special occasions, like graduations, and since 2008 is under heavy maintenance program. On January 19, 2010, the Maintenance Department finished the second stage of its restoration with the restart of the conical structure including their rotational movement. It is left for the close future, the restoration of the mirror pools, water filtration systems and night illumination.

For more history information see [6]

Some very nice legends: One of the most relevant legend calls it as "La poceta de King Kong" ("king Kong's toilet"), and affirm that the sculpture is designed to rotate as water cascades down from its top and magically generate an axial momentum that would make the entire system (the conical structure) rotate on its central axis. May be the 16 year period of construction animates a similar history that assure that the scaling factor used to reproduce the scaled-down model, followed Arithmetic values instead of Geometric ones, so the rotational movement was not possible by the “waterfalls rotational force” and a mechanism had to be made to aid it with an electromechanical system. The most strange legend (always associated with the rotational movement) praise that the original design considered that the water at the bottom of the fountain would have some kind of new none-discover-ever seen energy that would raise it 10 meters high without help to restart the water cascade, and goes so on with a "perpetual movement and no electrical energy consumption" beyond the existence of the earth and human kind, but it does not function quite well and the designers had to make an electrical system to operate it...

  1. ^
  2. ^ La Universidad Simón Bolívar a través de sus símbolos. 2005. Maria Teresa Jurado de Baruch. Editorial Equinoccio. Sartenejas, Baruta.

¡Nuevo!: when someone in one of the campus cafeterias makes a loud noise, such as by clumsily dropping their tray, people will shout "nuevo" (Spanish for freshman). Some people have gone into the main cafeteria the day of their graduation with their robes and dropped a tray on purpose in order to get ironically yelled at.

Laguna de los patos: It is an artificial small lake situated near the entrance on the university that holds a community of geese and ducks. Its name together with the bucolic setting, lends itself to pun.

Siberia: It is a cafeteria located at the sport complex center. This center, and its cafeteria are said to be located as far from the main university buildings as Siberia is from the rest of the world. Therefore, its name. Siberia was closed in recent years, and it has been reopened in late 2012.

El Acuario: Or The Aquarium, is the name given to another cafeteria located near the Biology and Architecture labs. The cafeteria's name has changed several times with different administrations, but the name "El Acuario" is the traditional one, and is the one used by the USB community. It is now a stub of food court with three different services "Acuario Grill" (they sell food coocked on a grill, like hamburguers, ribs etc.), "Acuario Cafe" (they sell pay-per-weight food, and breakfast), and "Acuario Postres" (they sell desserts)

External links[edit]

Aerial Photos[edit]