November 1st, 2013 Penza State University is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The history of the university goes back to July 1943, when an industrial institute was moved from Odessa, occupied by the Nazi army, to Penza. By the 1st of November that year, everything had been ready to accept the students. 600 students, among them 525 first-year students, started their studies here. First Director of the institute, Sergey Berezko, is credited with laying down the basis for the successful growth of the educational institution.
In the 1940s the city experienced a great need in professionals in industries, and the new educational institution was to satisfy that growing demand. Originally the university was called Penza Industrial Institute and comprised 3 faculties: Mechanics and Technology, Precision Mechanics and Thermal Engineering. Students could choose one of three courses of study: Machine Building Technologies, Machine Tools, Foundry Engineering.
Subsequently, the university was renamed Penza Polytechnical Institute (1958) and included 5 faculties as well as special faculties for part-time and distance learning.
The1990s were significant years for the development of the university. New educational courses (humanities and life sciences) were introduced, which led to the university acquiring the status of a classical university, and in January 1998 the university was given the name it bears now – Penza State University.
Finally, 2012 was a crucial year in university history. Penza State University merged with Penza Pedagogical University thus becoming the major university of the region.
Penza State Pedagogical University started it history back in the 1940s, it was first formed as a two-faculty institute for teacher training. Over the years it gradually opened more faculties and by the end of the 1970s it trained teachers of all subjects which were part of the national curriculum. The institute grew into the university, acquiring the name of a famous Russian critic and essayist V.G. Belinsky. In 2012 Penza Pedagogical University comprised 10 faculties: Physics and Maths, Life Sciences, Sociology and Social Work, Russian Language and Literature, Primary Education, History, Foreign Languages, Physical Education, Economics, Administration and Law. At present, as Pedagogical Institute, it forms a part of Penza State University.
The 2012 merge of the universities was mutually beneficial, as it allowed them to expand the scope of academic programmes, to increase the financing of academic fields and priority research, to open new professional training specialties and to enroll more students.
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