Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

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Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro
PUC Rio logo.png
Coat of arms of the university
Motto Alis Grave Nil
Motto in English
With wings, nothing is heavy
Established October 30, 1940[1]
Type Private, non-profit
Affiliation Roman Catholic Church and Society of Jesus
Chancellor Orani João Tempesta, O. Cist.
Rector Josafá Carlos de Siqueira, S.J.
Vice rector Francisco Ivern Simó, S.J.
Academic staff
Students 17,900
Undergraduates 10,400
Postgraduates 7,500
Location Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Campus Urban
Colors Yellow and Blue
Website http://www.puc-rio.br

The Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, often abbreviated as PUC-Rio) is a major private and non-profit Catholic university, located in Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil. It is maintained by the Catholic Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro and the Society of Jesus.


The University was created in 1941 by the Society of Jesus in order to develop knowledge based on humanistic values. With approximately 12,000 undergraduate students, 2,500 postgraduate students and 4,000 extension students, PUC-Rio is consistently recognized as one of the top universities in Brazil. In 2009, it outperformed all other Brazilian universities in ENADE, an important benchmarking exercise of the Brazilian Ministry of Education.[3] One can fully appreciate the scale of this in noting that, by 2008, Brazil had 2,252 higher education institutions.[4]

PUC-Rio is widely acclaimed[5] for its local excellence in Law, Engineering, Computer science, Psychology, Economics, Business and International Relations. The University is also known for its free cultural aspect. It has always tried to bring in the broadest types of students in order to foster and develop diversity amongst its student body. PUC-Rio has been responsible for the formation and education of many professionals who have become influential and important characters of Brazilian society.

In the past few years PUC-Rio has been developing international exchange programs with universities all over the world. Universities such as Harvard, Notre Dame, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Brown University and many other European centers have participated in the program, which is responsible for the exchange of hundreds of students every year.[citation needed]


The University is located in Gávea,[6] a neighborhood located in the south zone of the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. It sits right at the edge of the Tijuca Forest (a national forest), with a river extending from the forest through the entrance of PUC-Rio. Tree-covered mountains make up the north view of the campus.

A large number of city bus lines have stops at the entrance of University. It is close to Leblon, Ipanema, Jardim Botânico and Lagoa, which are some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Rio. The subway authority (Metrô) has planned expanding its line to a station at the entrance of PUC-Rio, however, while the Gávea station is not built, Metrô-branded buses connect the University to the General Osório station (located in Ipanema) and to Botafogo station (on Botafogo beach).


Main building
The church of the Sacred-Heart of the PUC

The campus was built with donations from many institutions and foundations in the early 1940s. A special donation was given by the USA during President John Kennedy's administration, which was thanked by the erection of a bust of Kennedy and by the naming of a building after the president within the PUC campus.

The campus is located in a place which used to be a coffee farm long ago. A river divides the university campus in two, and there are three small bridges to connect these halves.

There are four libraries on campus: the Central Library, located on the third floor of the Frings building, and one specialized library per center.

Rio Datacentro (RDC) is the computer center. The first Internet provider in the country, RDC has a state-of-the-art multiprocessor computer and a graphics-computing center, among other equipment and programs. It also provides free access to the Internet to all PUC-Rio students, who can use the terminals located in various microcomputer laboratories on campus or their own portable wireless devices.

Solar Grandjean de Montigny, PUC-Rio's Cultural Center, has displays of visual arts exhibitions all year round. At the Pilotis (Kennedy building's ground floor), many cultural events take place, like political debates, shows and fairs. The "Festa Junina" is a traditional folkloric festivity with a country-life ambiance. Typical food, costumes and dances bring alive an old way of living in Brazil. It takes place every June.

On PUC-Rio's campus there are also three restaurants, 5 coffee-shops, 1 pizza-parlor; a bookstore and an office supply store; many copy centers; branches of two banks, (Itaú and Banco Santander Brasil); a post office; a newsstand and automated teller machines. Close to the campus there are a great number of shops, banks, the Planetarium, specialized bookstores, restaurants and even a mall. The Botanical Gardens and Leblon beach are within walking distance.


The Lua programming language was developed by Roberto Ierusalimschy, Luiz Henrique de Figueiredo, and Waldemar Celes, members of the Computer Graphics Technology Group (Tecgraf), at PUC-Rio beginning in 1993.

Notable alumni[edit]

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Coordinates: 22°58′45.48″S 43°13′56.82″W / 22.9793000°S 43.2324500°W / -22.9793000; -43.2324500