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Historical Review

Universidad Central de Chile, UCEN, was created due to the initiative of a visionary group of personalities and professionals, related to different areas of our national affairs.

Its foundation followed the enactment of Decree Law N. 1, on December 30, 1980, of the Ministry of Education, which allowed the creation of higher education institutions by private non-profit and legal individuals.

The statutory provision that enables the creation of universities without state support, in the early eighties is, without doubt, a fact of great importance for the country, which generates the most remarkable change in Chilean higher education, in the second half of the twentieth century. In this context, three universities including ours are incorporated into the promising and institutional group. On March 4, 1982, a few personalities from different fields (Carlos Blin Arriagada, Omar Mendoza Palominos, Vicente Kovacevic, Hugo Gálvez Gajardo, Gonzalo Hernández Uribe, Luis Flores Vera, Enrique Martin Davis, Luis Castañeda Carrasco y Pedro Cruzat Fuschlocher), but united in the ideal of a new educational project, met in Santiago to sign the Act of Foundation of the University, and then discuss its future name, among "Universidad Americana", "Universidad del Pacífico", "Universidad Gabriela Mistral", and finally opted for "Universidad Central".

The corporation decided that the Universidad de Chile would be the "examiner" institution" of our early programs (Business Administration, Public Administration, Accounting and Auditing, Psychology, Law and Architecture). And in the disciplines that the Universidad de Chile could not cover, we would have academic sponsorship by the Universidad de Talca (Early Childhood Education) and the Universidad de Santiago (Civil Construction).

On March 18, 1993, full autonomy was granted to the University, and together with the Universidad Diego Portales, were the first private institutions to receive such a credit. This autonomy empowered the University to confer academic degrees, approve and establish study programs, as well as other professional degrees, among new contributions.

Since the enactment of the Constitutional Law of Education N. 18.962, of March 10, 1990, UCEN was submitted to the accreditation system, leaving behind testing system to develop its own institutional project. The granting of full autonomy is a milestone in the history of the organization which led to state recognition, its academic project and commitment to higher education in Chile.

Gradually the University consolidated, first in the facilities located at Carmencita 59, Las Condes, then leased the grounds of La Perla stadium in San Bernardo, and after being remodeled according to the requirements of a higher education institution, it became the its first university campus.

As part of the growth and as a result of hard work, the corporation was able to purchase land and build its own facilities.

As we grew in infrastructure and number of students, schools and faculties were created. The first schools were Public Administration, Architecture, Construction, Law, Economics and Management, Preschool Education and Psychology, and the first faculties were: Legal Sciences in 1985, with Professor Fidel Reyes Castillo as Dean, and Architecture and Arts with Dean Rene Martinez Lemoine in 1986.

With this background the first Board of Directors was created, chaired by Vincente Kovacevick and Carlos Francisco Blin Arriagada as Rector.

The University started with an academic staff of 87 teachers, figures that show the great performance and evolution of the University, which currently has over 12,000 students, nine faculties, 31 careers, and a staff over a thousand people.

In recent years the University has grown considerably in infrastructure, bought and built the regional headquarters of Antofagasta and La Serena in 2003, the building Vicente Kovacevic II was inaugurated in 2004, the Sports Center in 2007, the new building Almagro in 2008, plus several additions and renovations that have been implemented in the headquarters. The creation of two new faculties: Communications (2007) and Health Sciences (2011) along with the gradual incorporation of a wide range of postgraduate degrees, and the establishment of centers of studies and research institutes.

Milestones in the Central University of Chile from 1982 to the present:

1982. October 11. Foundation and constitution of the University and its statutes.

1982. November 9. UCEN is part University Records of the Ministry of Education, which marks its official foundation.

1983. Classes begin on campus San Bernardo, first headquarters. Carlos Blin Arriagada assumes as Chancellor. Several schools are founded, such as Architecture, Political and Administrative Sciences, Construction, Law, Economics and Management, Preschool Education and Psychology.

1985. Hugo Gálvez Gajardo Assumes as Chancellor. Faculty of Law is created.

1986. Faculty of Architecture and Arts was born, which included the School of Architecture, School of Ecology and Landscape (current Landscape Architecture) and the Center for Housing Studies for academic research and outreach.

1987. Campus La Reina starts to operate.

1988. The Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences and the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences were created, and later the schools of Civil Construction, Civil Engineering in Civil Engineering and Civil Engineering and Computer Science. The School of Landscape Ecology welcomes its first students.

1989. Inauguration of the Building Almagro I. One of the university founders Luis Flores Vera dies.

1990. The Faculty of Social Sciences was created.

1991. Inauguration of the Building Almagro II.

1992. The Main Building moves to Toesca.

1993. The Higher Education Council granted institutional autonomy to the University.

1994. Hugo Galvez Gajardo Outreach Center was inaugurated.

1995. The Chancellor and founder Hugo Galvez dies and was succeeded by Vicente Poklepovic Kovacevic.

1997. Former Chilean President Eduardo Frei Ruiz- Tagle was awarded with the Honorary Doctorate Degree.

1998. Inauguration of the Building Vicente Kovacevic I.

1999. The Civil Engineering Construction program was created.

2000. The Chancellor and founder Vicente Kovacevic dies. Gonzalo Hernández Uribe assumes as Chancellor and was succeeded in the same year by René Martínez Lemoine. The Faculty of Educational Sciences, and the Faculty of Political and Administrative Sciences are founded. The Internal Research Fund was also created.

2001. The Faculty of Social Sciences Sociology starts the program of Higher Level Rehabilitation Technician of Persons with Drug Dependence.

2002. Luis Lucero Alday was elected as Chancellor.

2003. Inauguration of the headquarters in Antofagasta and La Serena. The University acquired the Training Center Zipter. Successful accreditation processes in Architecture and Preschool Education were obtained. UCEN21 Academic Administration Project was initiated. The University changed its corporate image. Antonio Augusto Cançado Trindade, Brazilian judge of the International Court of Justice was granted with the Doctor Honoris Causa Distinction.

2004. Opening of the newest and modern building Vicente Kovacevic II. The UCEN starts redesigning the curricula of all its careers.

2005. Universidad Central is institutionally accredited until December 2008. All buildings and campuses have IP technology and free access to wireless Internet connection.

2006. Carlos Castresana Fernández, former international Commissioner Against Impunity in Guatemala and the outstanding Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón Real, were granted with the Doctor Honoris Causa Distinction, and both of them offered master classes in our university. The Faculty of Education grows with the addition of the programs in Biology and Science Education. The Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences implemented the Master in Computer Security and Information Protection, the first program of its kind in Chile. There is an expansion of infrastructure at the headquarters of La Serena, housing the academic programs of Sociology,
Advertising. The Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences starts the program of Industrial Engineering. The founder member, secretary general, academic Pedagogy in Physical Education and Special Education.

2007. The Sports Center Universidad Central and a new building in La Serena were inaugurated. The School of Communications welcomes its first students in Journalism and vice chancellor, chancellor, member and honorary president of the Board Gonzalo Hernandez Uribe passed away. The Heritage Studies Center was created. Eusebio Leal Spengler, a relevant Cuban historian was awarded with the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa.

2008. The School of Architecture is internationally accredited for five years. On 9 December, the National Accreditation Commission resolved institutional accreditation for four years to the areas of Governance and Teaching Leading to Professional Degree. The Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences opened two modern laboratories of Hydraulic Structures. New facilities indicate an investment of $230 million. Pedagogy in Basic Education was given accreditation for four years. In 2008, for the second time the programs of Civil Engineering in Computer and Information Technology were accredited. Additionally, the program of Construction Engineering was accredited.

2009. Inauguration of the new Building Almagro Norte which reaches a surface area of 24,000 m2 and houses the faculties of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Social Sciences, Communications, Law and Social Sciences and Health Sciences. Beside these, labs, multimedia rooms, a library, television and radio studios, among others, are part of the new building (in November 2012 the building is called after Gonzalo Hernandez Uribe). Preschool Education was accredited for five years. In April of that same year, Pedagogy in Physical Education and Special Education obtained a-three- year accreditation, while Pedagogy in Language and English Culture was accredited for two years. Finally, in December 2009, the School of Biology and Science Education was accredited for three years. The School of Nursing welcomes its first students.

2010. The Heritage Tourism Institute was founded. The Faculty of Health Sciences was founded.

2011. In February, Ignacio Larraechea Loeser was appointed as Interim Chancellor. In September, the General Assembly elects new partners, with two representatives from each of the faculties. In September, Luis Merino Montero assumes as Deputy Chancellor. In October, the new Board of Directors assumes, chaired by Ricardo Napadensky Bauza. The Faculty of Health Sciences is fully operational. The headquarters in La Serena starts its expansion, with an investment of about $550 million.

2012 Rafael Rosell Aiquel was elected Rector of Universidad Central.

Both Accounting & Auditing and Business Administration, together with a special program called Continuation of Studies in Business Engineering (evening version) were launched at Universidad Central in La Serena Campus.

On the thirtieth anniversary of the foundation of the University, the building Almagro I was named Edificio Gonzalo Hernández Uribe, as a tribute to one of its founders. The Founder Medal was created as an honor to whom represents, in the Chilean society, the values proclaimed by Universidad Central.

On October 5th (no menciona el año), a new infrastructure of 3,200 square meters was opened in La Serena Campus; 4,000 square meters had been built before.


The University succeeds, for the first time, in getting accredited 68% of all its careers, representing a total number of 25 disciplines that can be certified.

It is observed that there is a rapid internationalization process that creates cooperation links with Universities and Centers and taking part in international networks of 26 countries from four continents.

At the end of year 2013, there were 175 exchange program agreements, teaching program agreements and joint programs.

Besides, during this year, amendments to the policy of Linking with the Social Environment are made so that the Universidad Central aims at encouraging to share the generation of knowledge and to interact with society in a proactive, constant and appropriate way.

Universidad Central through its Faculties joins important institutions, such as the Construction Institute, - as an active member, the National Register Consultant of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Latin American Council of Management Schools. It stands out the alliances and agreements with Instituto Libertad, Chile 21, Dharma Foundation, Educar Chile, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the National Service for Minors, Providencia and Santiago Municipalities, and more than two hundred other agreements.


The University gets a three-year institutional reaccreditation for Undergraduate Teaching and Institutional Management. Furthermore, twenty undergraduate programs are accredited, standing for 76.9% of careers that can be accredited.

In the year 2014, a laborious process to reinforce the academic staff was carried out. Sixty-six per cent of professors got a Master's degree or a Doctorate degree. 72% of the regular academic staff was organized hierarchically.

There was also a significant increase in the student exchange and international academic co-operation programs. Thus, 265 foreign students were enrolled in different short internship programs and international courses.

Finally, research, development and innovation empowerment succeeded. As a result, there were 29 publications in indexed magazines: ISI, SCOPUS y SciELO Chile in 2014.


A Corporate Strategic Plan 2016-2020 was developed, as well as Strategic Academic Unit Plans. The Academic Vice Chancellor's Office starts a reorganization process by improving the Home Office Research.

In the year 2015, the University succeeded in keeping its record of twenty accredited careers that represents a 74.1% of the careers that can be certified.

In the same year, the Quality Management System was developed to certify the management and financial processes, according to ISO 9001:2008.

In June 2015, Santiago González Larraín assumed the duties of new Rector (S) of the University.


The public launch of the Corporate Strategic Plan 2016-2020 takes place. At the same time, sixteen professors holding a Doctorate Degree join the University to collaborate in the task of improving and promoting research, as well as development and innovation in areas of institutional interest.

In the year 2016, the University reaches the goal of twenty-one accredited careers.

In January the certification ISO 9001:2008 was got to guarantee the administrative and financial processes, such as student fee and student current accounts.

Universidad Central Radio starts its transmissions through frequency modulation band (107.1) and online broadcast (

Santiago González Larraín, the Rector of the University, reopens a new Sports Center, located on Santa Isabel street. It has high-level equipment to be used by the University community as a whole.

After an election to complete vacant positions of the General Assembly Members, six new members of the Honorable Board were elected for five years. They were Ricardo Napadensky Bauzá (President); María Teresa del Río Albornoz; Rita Coya Costa; Samuel Fernández Illanes; Sergio Henríquez Díaz and Juan Francisco Ortún Quijada.

After a verdict announced by the Chilean Supreme Court of Justice in relation to the writ of protection brought by the University and the will of the Rectors' Council of Chilean Universities in order to comply with the verdict fully and opportunely, Universidad Central is incorporated into the Single Admission System from the admission process of the year 2018. The National Commission for Accreditation announces that the University has been accredited for a period of four years (until December 2021) in the areas of Undergraduate Teaching, Institutional Management and Linking with the Social Environment. This has been the result of the community's effort, the success of the educational project and the growth process attained by the Institution.

In January, the ISO certification for the registration and for the students´ current account management process, certified according to the certification rules established since December 2015, - the financial resource management process for Santiago Campus and La Serena Campus was also included.