Launching Higher Education in the Western Hemisphere

Today in 1538, The Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino was created by the Papal Bull In Apostolatus St Thomas Aquinas Culminates. With this act by Pope Paul III, it became the first university in the Western Hemisphere. It was officially recognized by Royal Decree in 1558. It was closed in 1832, but was reopened and renamed The Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) in 1914, becoming the public university system in the Dominican Republic. Also today, in 1636, the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony adjourned after voting for an appropriation of £400 toward a “school or college.” This established the first college in what will later become the United States, and which two years later will be renamed Harvard University. Harvard celebrates its 375th anniversary this year.




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