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The university was founded in 1635 in Nagyszombat, Kingdom of Hungary, (today Trnava, Slovakia) by the archbishop and theologian Péter Pázmány. Leadership was given over to the Jesuits. Initially the university only had two colleges (College of Arts and College of Theology). The College of Law was added in 1667 and the College of Medicine was started in 1769. After the dissolution of the Jesuit order, the university was moved to Buda (today part of Budapest) in 1777 in accordance with the intention of the founder. The university moved to its final location in Pest (now also part of Budapest) in 1784. The language of education was Latin until 1844, when Hungarian was introduced as an official language. Women have been allowed to enroll since 1895.
It was named Royal University of Pest until 1873, then University of Budapest (Hungarian: Budapesti Tudományegyetem) until 1921, when it was renamed Pázmány Péter University after its founder Péter Pázmány (not to be confused with Pázmány Péter Catholic University, a separate and more recent university). The Faculty of Science started its separate life in 1949. The university received its current name, Eötvös Loránd University, after the physicist Loránd Eötvös in 1950.