History of AGH UST

Establishment of university

The history of the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow dates back to 1912, when a group of outstanding engineers and mining activists, led by Jan Zarański, initiated the process of applying for a consent to establish a school of higher education that would educate mining engineers in Krakow. The endeavours were successful,and in 1913 the Ministry of Public Work in Vienna appointed the Organizing Committee of the Mining Academy, chaired by Professor Józef Morozewicz. By force of a Supreme Order issued by Emperor Francis Joseph on 31st May, 1913, the establishment of the Mining Academy in Krakow was approved. The outbreak of World War I prevented the Academy from beginning its activity in 1914.

 

Opening and development in interwar period

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the Organising Committee recommenced its work, and on 8th April, 1919, the Polish Government brought the Mining Academy into being. The first professors were nominated on 1st May, 1919. On 20th October, 1919, Józef Piłsudski, Head of the State, inaugurated the Mining Academy in the main hall of the Jagiellonian University. On 15th June, 1923, the cornerstone for the future university building was laid. Two years later, the project of the Academy emblem (to be seen in the AGH UST History Museum) signed B.T. – Bogdan Treter – was created; it is believed that the emblem was approved by the General Assembly of Professors. Soon, the Academy reached a very high educational standard, and became one of the best European mining schools. Since its early days, the university has collaborated closely with industry, and retained close links with the Polish economy.

 

World War II

The outbreak of World War II stopped the development of the Academy. Professors of the Mining Academy were arrested by the Gestapo during “Sonderaktion Krakau”. The science and research elite was deported to the Nazi Germany’s concentration camps in Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg and Dachau. Between 1939 and 1945, the main Academy building was occupied by the German General Government. The property of the Academy was completely devastated and plundered, and the sculpture of St Barbara was broken by an act of throwing it from the roof of the main building. Thanks to the dedication of the staff, part of the library was saved. The Academy started to act in conspiracy, and the authorities tried to regain or create provisional teaching facilities.

 

Contemporary history

At the beginning of 1945, the Mining Academy was the only technical university in Poland which was able to operate. It became a support centre for other technical universities in Poland. Cracow University of Technology came into being within the walls of the Academy; it acted under the name of the Polytechnic Faculties of the Mining Academy until 1954. The Academy also played a major role in the establishment of the Silesian University of Technology (23 Mining Academy graduates were professors there), and Częstochowa University of Technology, and it also contributed to the reconstruction of Warsaw University of Technology, and the organization of Wrocław University of Technology and Gdańsk University of Technology. In 1947, an internal decision was made to rename the university the Academy of Mining and Metallurgy. However, a formal approval of the decision by superior authorities took place only in 1949. In 1969, Stanisław Staszic was chosen the patron statesman of the Academy. At the same time, the university received its standard. On 14th December, 1981, the AGH UST academic community, under the flag of ‘Solidarność’, had courage to protest against suppressing – by an act of imposing Martial Law – the retrieved feeling of freedom and solidarity. The Independent Self-Governing Trade Union ‘Solidarność’ at AGH UST was a student organisation, the only one in Krakow, and one of only three in Poland, which organised sitdown strikes in the first days of Martial Law. In 1999, the sculpture of St Barbara was returned to the roof of the main university building A-0.