Perm University: the Roots of Classics
Perm University was founded on 14 October 1916, on the borderline of two historical epochs, at the brink of a promising and dramatic decade marked by the Russian Silver age – the revival of national culture, boost of academic thinking, fast economic growth – paired with political crisis and devastating war, pushing the country towards revolution, a great social and political change. All this made impact on the University history and determined its fate and individuality.
Foundation of the University in the Urals met the strategy of cultural and geopolitical growth of Russia: a huge territory with a rapid industrial potential urged for scientific, educational and enlightening center. Since the early start of the XXth century the local community – the city and district councils, private business and manufacturers had been regarding numerous projects of setting a higher educational institution in Perm. With a great contribution by Nikolai Meshkov, a prominent public figure and local merchant, the city offered the most appealing financial and material conditions, and successfully competed for a positive government decision. With the rise of the University the land of Urals, formally the Eastern brink of Europe, became truly connected to the European educational space.
Perm University was initially founded as a branch of St. Petersburg University – one of the largest universities in Europe, and became a promising injection of intellectual elitism and European culture to a provincial city – the latter described by the contemporary writer Mikhail Osorgin as the one “sleeping at the lobby of culture”. The University rapidly turned into the center of intellectual life of Perm region, widening its realm of high creativity, enabling city contacts with the centers of European culture and enlightenment.
Not all implied at the University birth came fast and full as the whole epoch was left aboard. Still the University kept on going, passing the voluntaristic zigzags of young Soviet age, finding its way within the context of Russian history. Yet in its multiple change and self-improvement the University urged to keep to its fundamental principle – carrying the torch, passing the light of knowledge.
Having passed its centennial, the University evolves its initial strive and stays loyal to its mission – keeping the high standards of academic knowledge, implementing the classical education tradition in the Urals. Furthermore, by classical we mean the convincing ability to look forward and never come out of date.
President Vladimir V. Malanin,
Doctor of Engineering Science,
Honored Scientist, Professor