Pontifical Catholic University of Peru

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Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
Seal of Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.svg
MottoEt lux in tenebris lucet
Motto in English
And the light shines in the darkness
TypePrivate University
Secular university claiming Roman Catholic affiliation
Established1 March 1917
(104 years ago)
FounderJorge Dintilhac
ChancellorGiuseppe Versaldi
RectorCarlos Garatea Grau
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students29,044 (2018)
Undergraduates22,711 (2018)
Postgraduates6,333 (2018)
393 (2018)
1801 Universitaria Avenue, San Miguel
, ,
Coordinates: 12°04′10″S 77°04′46″W / 12.06944°S 77.07944°W / -12.06944; -77.07944
0.41 km2
ColorsNavy blue
AffiliationsConsorcio de Universidades, COLUMBUS, FIUC, Asociación Internacional de Universidades (IAU), OUI, RPU, UDUAL.

Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (Spanish: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, PUCP) is a private university in Lima, Peru. It was founded in 1917 with the support and approval of the Catholic Church, being the oldest private institution of higher learning in the country. The person who dealt the necessary formalities was Catholic priest Jorge Dintilhac.

In July 2012, after an apostolic visitation, begun earlier, in 2011, by Peter Erdo, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, the Holy See withdrew from the university the right under canon law to use the titles Catholic and Pontifical in its name. Titles like "Catholic" and "Pontifical" are granted by the Vatican only after meeting legal requirements. In 2014 Pope Francis formed a Commission of Cardinals to find a 'final, consensual solution between the Vatican and the University, comprising Cardinal Erdo, Gérald Lacroix, archbishop of Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, and Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Chile.[1] In 2016, the Vatican restored the lost titles and determined that the archbishop of Lima would not assume the position of Chancellor of the University. Archbishop of Lima, Juan Luis Cipriani, was the main advocate of the Vatican interests. As of December, 2018 those authorities faced charges, and Rector Marcial Rubio had to resign after a scandal of fraud, usury, and keeping two sets of accounts.[2]


The Catholic University of Lima began activities in 1917 with two schools: Letters and Laws. The classes began in some free classrooms of the La Recoleta school.

In 1918, it was renamed as the Catholic University of Peru. This name was according to its founders and people who called it like that , this name that was just legalized on April 8, 1960 when with Law 13417 it was granted the character of national (P.U.C.P).[3] in 1932, the Higher Institute of Commercial Sciences, the Women's Institute of Higher Studies, and the Institute of Languages were created. In 1933, when the university had more than 500 students, the Schools of Engineering, and Political and Economical Sciences were established. In 1935, the School of Education was created. In 1936, the Escuela Normal Urbana was created. Later, in 1939, the Academy of Catholic Art was founded, with Adolf Winternitz as its director. The university is still one of only a small number to offer an arts major in Perú. In 1942, the Holy See granted the title of "Pontifical", and from that moment the university began to be called the Pontifical Catholic University.

In 1944, when the Peruvian thinker José de la Riva-Agüero y Osma passed away, who decided to leave his inheritance to the Catholic University, he Pontifical Catholic University of Lima acquired the Riva-Agüero house, the O'Higgins house and the Pando farm (San Miguel) among its properties, and rural lands in Lima and Pisco. In this way, José de la Riva-Agüero becomes the main benefactor of the university to date.

In 1949, the university obtained its autonomy from the National University of San Marcos, which it was governed, according to Law 11003.

Naming controversy[edit]

The university is presently experiencing a debate over its taken name. The debate over the pontifical and catholic status of the university dates back to the 1991 Apostolic Exhortation "Ex Corde Ecclesiae" of Pope John Paul II, in which the pope legislated the essential norms for institutes of higher education which wished to be known as "Catholic." Catholic authorities claim that for twenty years these norms were not implemented by the University, despite Vatican requests. It is alleged that the University had refused to allow the Peruvian bishops an official seat on the board of governance and access to the administration of bequests and other sources of funding.

In October 2011, Cardinal Péter Erdő, 59, Metropolitan Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, President of the Hungarian Episcopal Conference was named apostolic visitor to the college. Erdő had requested that the University implement the norms by Easter 2012.

Under canon law, the pontifical title allows certain acknowledged Catholic universities to obtain various ecclesiastical degrees aside from normal civil degrees. Certain seminaries require, for instance, that those teaching classes of theology and canon law hold pontifical degrees in those subjects only obtainable with the permission and recognition by the Holy See.[4]

In a televised interview with Peruvian channel RPP TV, the attorney for the Archdiocese of Lima, Natale Amprimo, issued a press statement stating that the Archdiocese may decide to file a lawsuit against the university if they do not revise their name soon. Amprimo cited article 83 of the P.U.C.P. University Act, i.e. "goods coming from donations, legacies and bequests are subject to the regime established by the donor".[5]

In a papal decree dated 11 July 2012, the Vatican's Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone withdrew the titles of "Pontificia" and "Catolica" from the University, citing disagreements with the current governing body[6][7] The title "Pontificia" was previously granted to the university on 30 September 1942 by the Holy See which was decreed and signed by Pope Pius XII.[8]

The canonical decree was approved by Pope Benedict XVI, upon whom the University had conferred the academic title of Doctor Honoris causa in 1986, when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

On 22 July 2012 the rector of the university, Marcial Rubio, released a press statement refusing to relinquish the titles Catholic and Pontifical as previously granted by Pope Pius XII, citing that the situation is "regrettable" but the title remains their "official name and will continue to use as such so long as its convenient" to their governing body.[9] Rubio also asserted that the University is governed by the civil laws of Peru, not by ecclesiastical canon law.[10]

On 26 July 2012, in a CNN televised interview, Marcial Rubio noted that the university may change the official name of the school in the future but only according to a timeline and decision of the present governing board, not in response to any pressure from the Pope or the Holy See. Furthermore, Rubio said that the university will continue to issue its own secular degrees and diplomas which the school considers lawful and valid in Peru.[11][12]


There are currently 23,000 undergraduate students pursuing 38 different specialties in 10 schools. Its main campus is located in the Lima district of San Miguel, with the newly built Mac Gregor complex.

Outside the main campus there are other facilities such as the IC (Idiomas Católica), a language-learning center, the Confucius Institute PUCP, the cultural center (CCPUCP) located in the district of San Isidro. CENTRUM, a center for business studies featuring doctoral level and MBA programs and located in the district of Santiago de Surco, is also part of PUCP. Inside, there is a Pastoral Counseling Center (CAPU).

Student body
  • Undergraduate: 22,711
  • Postgraduates: 6,333
  • Doctoral: 393


Together with the National University of San Marcos and the Cayetano Heredia University, the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru is one of the only three Peruvian universities which has managed to rank first nationally in certain editions of different major internationally university rankings.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

In 2021, the QS World University Ranking of the british company Quacquarelli Symonds ranked the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru as the best university in the country.[19]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also Category:Pontifical Catholic University of Peru alumni


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ JOSÉ M. CARMEN MORÁN (14 December 2018). "Denuncian a Marcial Rubio y exvicerrectores de PUCP" [Marcel Rubio and ex-vicerectors of PUCP accused]. Diario Expreso (in Spanish).
  3. ^ "Conoce la historia de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú". TVPerú (in Spanish). 17 April 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 July 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ http://peru21.pe/2012/07/26/politica/amprimo-vaticano-podria-acudir-ante-instancias-internacionales-2034742
  6. ^ "Decreto" (PDF). aciprensa.com. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  7. ^ Kerr, David. "Elite Peruvian university stripped of Catholic credentials". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  8. ^ http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/homepage/the-vatican/detail/articolo/peru-peru-varticano-vatican-16957/
  9. ^ Cabrejos, Julio (22 July 2012). "Marcial Rubio: Tenemos derecho a seguir usando el nombre". RPP (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  10. ^ ""La PUCP se rige por las leyes peruanas y no por el derecho canónico"". puntoedu.pucp.edu.pe (in Spanish). 22 July 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Marcial Rubio brindó entrevista a CNN en español". puntoedu.pucp.edu.pe (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  12. ^ "ANR: "La PUCP puede otorgar grados y títulos a nombre de la Nación"". puntoedu.pucp.edu.pe (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú". Top Universities. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  14. ^ "2013 University Web Ranking: Universities in Peru". 4 International Colleges & Universities. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  15. ^ "Ranking Web of Universities: Peru". Webometrics. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  16. ^ "QS Latin American University Rankings". Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  17. ^ "Ranking universitario en el Perú" (PDF). Asamblea Nacional de Rectores (ANR) and UNESCO. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  18. ^ "University Ranking by Academic Performance (2010): Top Perú". URAP Center. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  19. ^ "Ránking 2011: conozca las mejores universidades del Perú". www.americaeconomia.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 December 2020.

External links[edit]