The Université de Montréal first opened its doors on January 6th, 1878. At the time, less than a hundred students were admitted to three faculties-theology, law and medicine-in various locations around the city. In 1895, new premises were acquired on Saint Denis St., in the heart of the Latin Quarter, and all of its faculties were moved to one location.
Formerly a branch of the Université Laval de Québec, the Université de Montréal officially became a self-governing and independent institution on May 8th, 1919. With its affiliated schools (the École Polytechnique, founded in 1873 and affiliated in 1887, and the École des Hautes Études Commerciales, founded in 1907 and affiliated in 1915), it became for Montreal a prestigious and much-awaited Francophone university.
After a fire destroyed the facilities on Saint Denis St., Ernest Cormier was commissioned to design the plans for a new campus on the north side of Mount Royal. In 1926, he unveiled the result of all his hard work-a modern institution in the Art Deco style characterized by simplicity of form.
The University was hit hard by the Depression of the 1930s. Construction halted for a decade, and the University almost closed is doors. It survived this dark period, however, and in 1943 the Université de Montréal inaugurated its new campus, 15 years after construction had first began.
In 1965, during the Quiet Revolution, the appointment of Roger Gaudry, the first secular rector, paved the way for modernization and the University took a decisive step in higher education and research. During the 1980s, the Université de Montréal carved out a place for itself on the international stage and became one of the world's top institutions of higher learning.
In 2002, the University embarked on its largest construction projects since the late '60s. Financed by public and private fundraising, the project involves the construction of five ultra-modern buildings for advanced research and teaching in the fields of pharmacology, engineering, aerospace, cancer research and biotechnology. Once this ambitious project is completed, the University will be poised to rise to the challenges facing the world of knowledge over the next 40 years.