University of Puerto Rico

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University of Puerto Rico
Universidad de Puerto Rico
Upr logo.jpg
Seal of the University of Puerto Rico
Latin: Universitatis Portoricensis
Established 1903
Type state university system
Budget Increase $1.52 billion USD (2014)[a]
President Uroyoán Walker[2]
Academic staff 5,300[3]
Admin. staff 14,177[3]
Students 58,000[3]
Location San Juan, Puerto Rico
Campus 11 campuses
Former names Escuela Normal (Normal school)
Upr logo 3.gif

The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) is the state university system of Puerto Rico and a government-owned corporation of Puerto Rico. It consists of 11 campuses and has approximately 58,000 students and 5,300 faculty members.[4] UPR has the largest and most diverse academic offerings in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, with 472 academic programs and 32 doctoral programs.[5]


In 1900, at Fajardo, the Escuela Normal Industrial (normal school) was established as the first higher education center in Puerto Rico. Its initial enrollment was 20 students and 5 professors.[6] The following year it was moved to Rio Piedras. On March 12, 1903, the legislature authorized founding of the University of Puerto Rico, and that day the "Escuela Normal" was proclaimed as its first department.

Aerial view of the Río Piedras Campus
Portico of the Mayaguez Campus (RUM)

1908 - The Morrill-Nelson Act is extended to Puerto Rico, making the University a "Land Grant College," which authorizes use of federal land to establish colleges of agriculture, science and engineering.

1910 - Establishment of the College of Liberal Arts.

1911 - Establishment of the College of Agriculture at Mayagüez. A year later the name was changed to College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.

1913 - The Departments of Pharmacy and Law were established.

1918 - University High School (UHS) is founded to provide clinical experience and supervised practice for teacher applicants, support staff and other teaching professionals.

1923 - The University Act of 1923- the University reorganized administratively it independent Insular Department of Education, provides the Board of Trustees as the governing board, and make the position of Rector as the principal officer. In 1924 the governor appointed the first Rector. The enrollment is 1,500 students.

1924 - The administrative structure and identity of the University of Puerto Rico is completely independent of the Department of Public Instruction.

1925 - Act 50 gave the UPR educational autonomy. This led to a total restructuring and the beginning of a period of rapid growth.

1926- The College of Business Administration and the School of Tropical Medicine were established.

1927 - Opening of the first graduate program: the Master of Arts in Hispanic Studies.

1928 - The San Felipe hurricane struck the island of Puerto Rico and caused serious damage in the Rio Piedras campus. Staff and faculty began a reconstruction effort; classes were for more than a month.

1935 - The U.S. Congress extended to Puerto Rico the benefits of Bankhead-Jones Act, which provided funding for research and the construction of more buildings.

1936 - 1939 - Major structures in Spanish Renaissance style are built in the quadrangle in Rio Piedras, including buildings such as the Tower Theatre and the University.

1938 - Augusto Rodríguez composed the music and lyrics Arriví Francisco's Alma Mater, the University anthem.

1939 - The "chime" mechanism was installed in the tower to play bells at the Río Piedras Campus.

1942 - Act No. 135 of May 7, 1942, amendment to the University, created the Higher Education Council as the governing board of the institution and regulator of the higher education system in Puerto Rico.

1943 - The university adopted the general education core courses modality.

1946 - The University received accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

1950 - Beginning of courses in the School of Medicine.

1966 - Act No. 1 of 1966, restructuring the university. The system becomes a three campuses-Rio Piedras, Mayaguez and Medical Sciences, and a regional school management to group those that may be created in the future, under the direction of a President. Create a College Board with representation from the regional campuses and colleges, and renamed to the governing Council of Higher Education.

1967 - Creation of the regional colleges: Arecibo, Cayey and Humacao. Five more were created in the following years: Ponce (1969), Bayamon (1971), Aguadilla (1972), Carolina (1973), and Utuado (1978).

1979 - WRTU-FM began broadcasting from the Río Piedras campus.

1993 - Act No. 16 of June 6, 1993, divided the functions of the Council for Higher Education, assigning the functions of government at the University Board of Trustees to a newly created.

1998 - Act No. 186 of August 7, 1998, provides for the gradual autonomy of regional schools as provided by the Board of Trustees, to lead to eleven autonomous units.

In 2010 the Master Plan for the Río Piedras Campus was completed, to direct future growth for the largest campus in the system. It is expected to serve 27,000 students by 2020. The study reviewed existing facilities, identified attainable development scenarios, and provided phasing and implementation strategies. Planned new development includes a sports and recreation center; housing for 800 students; and academic and research facilities. The $700 million development plan is currently being implemented.[7]

The Master Plan for the Bayamón Campus addresses its pressing capital needs. Originally built as a campus of temporary structures to serve 2,500 students, today it serves more than 5,000 students, a figure expected to double by the year 2020. Much of the physical plant needs repair and replacement.[8]

In July 2010, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education placed the accreditation of the University on probation citing concerns about shortfalls in the governance of the institution.[9] By the end of 2011, all 11 campuses had regained full accreditation after demonstrating significant progress in this area.


Board of Trustees[edit]

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of the University of Puerto Rico. Its membership consisted of thirteen private citizens who represent the public interest in higher education, two faculty members, and a student representative. However, it should be noted that in July 2010 the government modified the law of the university and assigned new members (from 13 to 17) to the Board of Trustees of the university in order to control their governing body.[10][11] The Governor of Puerto Rico, with the advice and consent of the Senate of Puerto Rico, appoints the lay representatives. The faculty and student representatives are elected from among the non-university administration members of the University Board. Five of the public interest members are appointed to eight-year terms, three members to six-year terms, and the remaining two members to four-year terms. The faculty and student representatives serve a one-year term. Members representing the public interest may be reappointed to additional terms as long as the total time served does not exceed eight years.

Enrollment and admissions[edit]

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UPR logo

UPR has the highest selectivity index of all colleges and universities in Puerto Rico. UPR’s average admission rate since 1997 has been 67.6% (systemwide, 11 campuses). UPR has maintained a matriculation rate of over 90% during the past five academic years.[12]


The cost per credit for undergraduate students entering the 2009-2010 academic year was $49.00.[13] However, and amidst much controversy and majority opposition, the Board of Trustees approved an additional annual fee of $800 per student to go into effect in the second semester of the 2010-2011 academic cats. The fee was abolished in July 2013.


On October 15, 2010 the University of Puerto Rico was awarded over $25 million from National Science Foundation to support research in nanotechnology. The organization within the University of Puerto Rico impacted is called Puerto Rico EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). Since its creation 24 years ago, Puerto Rico EPSCoR has received over $180 million from NSF, NASA, US Department of Energy, and the US Department of Defense.[14]


The University of Puerto Rico was ranked among the best 20 universities in Latin America by SCImago ranking in 2010.[15] The University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras ranked 81st and University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez ranked 73rd in Top Latin America by Webometrics.[16]

College of Engineering[edit]

The college is accredit by ABET.[17]

One of its campuses, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, produces over 606 engineers every year, which is more than Texas A&M University, Florida International University and California State University, Pomona combined.[18]

It was chosen as the Top Engineering School for Hispanics by Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology Magazine.[19]

Puerto Rico has a large pool of engineering students. In October 2002, UPR's job fair had a record-setting number of companies and federal agencies recruiting engineers: 74. The list included Motorola, Raytheon Systems, IBM, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Geological Survey.[20]


  • Research activity, measured in terms of external funds received, has grown exponentially since 1985, doubling every five years. In 2007-2008 the UPR received over $87 million for research.[21]


Campus radio[edit]

UPR broadcasts both in FM (to some areas) and online. The campus radio station is called "WRTU Radio Universidad de Puerto Rico", and it was established in 1980. This is a public radio station with diverse musical and news programming.[22]


Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ López (2014; in Spanish) "El presupuesto actual consolidado de la institución es de $1,522 millones."[1]


  1. ^ López Alicea, Keila (February 27, 2014). "Severos recortes en la UPR". El Nuevo Día. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Con nuevo presidente la UPR". El Nuevo Retrieved 2013-11-18. 
  3. ^ a b c Historia UPR
  4. ^ "La Universidad Hoy". Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Historia de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. 2008-04-30.
  7. ^ "Antonio DiMambro + Associates, Inc". Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  8. ^ "Antonio DiMambro + Associates, Inc". Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  9. ^ Inside Higher Education Chronicle
  10. ^ Unlimited Studios (2010-06-24). "UPR Board of Trustees Confirmed - Puerto Rico Daily Sun - Timely news about Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and the world". Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^
  13. ^ "UPR - Portal de Estudiantes - Costos de Estudio". Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  14. ^ "Home - El Nuevo Día". Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  15. ^ "College and university rankings - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  16. ^ [3][dead link]
  17. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  18. ^ Rodriguez, Victor M. (2010-06-21). "Puerto Rico: The Invisible and Recurring Social Struggles in the Oldest Colony in the World". Dissident Voice. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  19. ^ "Schools". Retrieved 2010-07-29. [dead link]
  20. ^ "World News". Retrieved 2010-07-29. [dead link]
  21. ^ [4][dead link]
  22. ^ Radio Universidad de Puerto Rico
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Biographical information from the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 18°24′11″N 66°03′02″W / 18.40306°N 66.05056°W / 18.40306; -66.05056